From foot operated flushes to ionised AC air, Railways customises coaches for post COVID times

By PTI

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also indicated that the new coaches could be the new normal.

From foot-operated soap dispensers and toilet flushes to door handles manoeuvred with the forearm and handrails coated with anti-microbial copper, the Railways' new coaches for post corona travel launched on Tuesday come packed with features to help stave off infection.

The first two coaches that rolled out from the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala also have fixtures coated with titanium dioxide and the provision for plasma air equipment in AC ducts to sterilise interiors using ionised air, officials said.

Giving details of the two coaches, one air-conditioned and other non-air conditioned, they said the use of hands to navigate washrooms and other parts has been brought down to a minimum, making them “almost hands-free”.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also indicated that the new coaches could be the new normal.

"Future Ready Railway: Designed to fight Coronavirus, Railways creates 1st ‘Post COVID Coach' with handsfree amenities, copper-coated handrails & latches, plasma air purification, Titanium di-oxide coating.

"For COVID-Free passenger journey!," he said in a tweet.

The features, detailed in a booklet circulated by the Railways, include a host of foot-operated fixtures – including taps, soap dispensers, lavatory doors, flush valves and door latches. Outside the toilet is a wash basin with a foot operated tap forearm. Besides, the compartment doors have handles operated with the forearm.

The Railways has also installed copper coated handrails and latches as copper degrades the virus which lands on it within a few hours, the booklet said.

¨Copper also has anti microbial properties. Thus, when the virus lands on it, the ion blasts the pathogen and destroys the DNA and RNA inside it,¨ it said.

The coaches will also have the provision of plasma air equipment in the AC duct that will sterilise the coaches using ionised air to make it COVID-19 free.

The “nano structured titanium dioxide” coating is another special feature.

¨This is an eco-friendly water-based coating that kills viruses, bacteria, mould, and fungal growth and most importantly enhances indoor air quality. It is non-toxic and approved by food testing laboratory of the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA)… It is considered to be a safe substance, and is harmless for humans,¨ it said.

The coating has been applied on washbasins, lavatory, seats and berths, snack table, glass window, floor, virtually every contact surface.

The effective life of the coating is 12 months.

The Railways is currently running 15 pairs of AC trains on Rajdhani routes and 100 pairs of mail and express trains. A few Shramik Special trains are also running daily.

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