Blankets, bed rolls back on AC coaches of South Central Railways 

Linen would be provided to passengers travelling by air-conditioned coaches of the remaining 76 trains of South Central Railway within a month.

Linen would be provided to passengers travelling by air-conditioned coaches of the remaining 76 trains of South Central Railway within a month. | Photo Credit: File photo

With the arrival of monsoon and trains once again running choc-a-block with long waiting lists, extra coaches, announcement of special trains and a scramble for seats in unreserved coaches, there is a sense of deja vu for the Indian Railways.

But, those travelling by air-conditioned coaches have to keep an eye out for the provision of blankets and pillows — the South Central Railways (SCR) zone, only 39 train pairs (or 78 trains) originating from within its jurisdiction have restored the supply of linen from April 1 as directed by the Railway Board. Seventy-six other trains are yet to provide that service.

This is important as the AC coaches become ‘freezing’ cold in this season. With the linen supply yet to be completely restored, it is better to carry one. “I could not sleep at night because the temperature was kept quite low,” said a passenger, who had travelled recently.

Senior railway officials claim it is the passengers themselves who demand that the temperatures be lowered, forcing attendants to comply.

In the summer of 2020, the Railway Board took the unprecedented decision to discontinue the service of providing linen, blanket, pillow covers and towels as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of this, railway engineers had then gone for air circulation replacement 26 times an hour from the 12 times earlier, and temperatures inside AC coaches were tuned to about 25 degree Celsius, obviating the need for a blanket.

Other trains in a month

Apparently, with the re-issue of linen, the temperatures are back to being cold and it only gets colder during the night when the halts are fewer and opening and closing of doors is minimal. “We have received feedback from passengers and a majority of them want the coaches to be cooler. We are planning to restore linen supply in remaining 76 trains within a month or so,” said CPRO Ch. Rakesh.

“Tenders have been floated for seven categories like supply and wash of bedsheets, pillow covers, towels, etc. and purchase orders have been issued for most of them on a war footing with respective divisional level officers being given powers to decide on these matters quickly in the remaining trains. Passengers are being sent information on their mobile phone numbers about the list of trains where linen service is being issued. A web link to passengers is also being sent along with the message when the ticket is booked,” added the CPRO.

SCR with a requirement of more than 35,000 linen sets, has the capacity to wash 20.25 tonnes of linen with Secunderabad having two mechanised laundries of two and six tonnes, Hyderabad six tonnes, Vijayawada four tonnes and Nanded 2.5 tonnes. Some of these units, including private ones, have begun operations and three other mechanised units are ready for operations at Kacheguda (12 tonnes), Kakinada (four tonnes) and Tirupati (2.5 tonnes), said senior officials.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2022 5:16:03 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/attention-scr-passengers-blankets-bed-rolls-back-on-ac-coaches/article65582711.ece