The differently-abled who think twice before taking a train somewhere would soon find themselves in a happy place with the South Central Railway (SCR) not just providing wheelchairs at all the stations under its jurisdiction, but making the facility more accessible by developing an user-friendly prototype ramp along with a foldable wheelchair.
Currently being tested in the Guntur division, the ramp would help push the wheelchair into a coach and also allow for its movement in the narrow aisles of all the coaches.
Train no. 12747 Guntur–Vikarabad Palnadu Express would be the first train to be equipped with the facility, senior railway officials said.
The passengers can seek the assistance of the wheelchair or meet the station master on duty for the request.
They would also have to mention their alighting station so that the information is passed on to the concerned station and guard in advance. The on-board housekeeping staff would assist the passengers to alight at a particular station. The facility is available at nominal charges.
The foldable wheelchair is light in weight, user-friendly and manoeuvrable to help the differently-abled passengers move easily along the aisle and reach their reserved seat. Its carrying capacity is 100 kg and has features like swivelling footrest and foldable hand rest that can be lifted in narrow spaces. It is also equipped with a handbrake and locking mechanism.
The foldable ramp weighs around 35 kg and is capable of taking a dynamic load of 250 kg and is accessible to all coaches, including the AC ones. It is fitted with a pair of telescopic adjustable legs that enable safe use on platform-to- train heights varying from 400 mm to 600 mm. Also, it has safety features such as legs and locks so as not to pose any problems during use, the officials said in a press release.