This is the biggest-ever consignment of LHB coaches exported by the Railways.The modern stainless steel coaches also known as LHB manufactured by Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, are equipped with Fiat bogies capable of running at maximum speed of 160 kmph. The export of the trains has been undertaken by RITES, a public sector undertaking under Railways Ministry.
The contract agreement between RITES Ltd and Bangladesh Railways was executed on January 21, 2015, and subsequently between RITES Ltd and RCF on September 30, 2015 for supply of these coaches at an estimated cost of Rs 367 crore.
RITES Chairman and Managing Director Rajeev Mehrotra said that RITES is making all efforts to augment export of rolling stock manufactured at Indian Railways Production Units. “Response from South Asian markets is very encouraging.
This is for the first time that we have been able to send our air conditioned couches. We are looking for a huge market,” Mehrotra told Millennium Post. The Bangladesh Railway (BR) had requested a contract agreement of 120 coaches and the remaining would be sent in due course.
Two train sets, comprising of 12 coaches each- 2 AC chair car, 2 first AC sleeper car, 6 non-AC chair car and 2 power car, will presently be deployed to operate 3 pairs of inter-city trains between Dhaka and Rajshahi. The coaches sent to Bangladesh also have a prayer room.
RITES had earlier supplied 26 Broad Gauge diesel electric locomotives (3100 HP) manufactured by Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi which are successfully running broad gauge trains of Bangladesh Railway.
Earlier, an intercity train with these coaches was flagged off at Dhaka by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the presence of High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
Indian Railways had bagged the contract to export 120 modern LHB coaches to Bangladesh at an estimated cost of Rs 367 crore. The export order of 120 LHB coaches include 17 AC first class, 17 AC chair car, 34 non-AC chair car with pantry, 33 Non-AC chair car with prayer room and 19 power car coaches.
The RCF Kapurthala has gained a foothold in the export market with the export of first batch of coaches to a neighbouring country. Earlier also, RCF has exported coaches to South East Asian and African countries which have Metre Gauge rail networks and Indian Railway’s past experience in Meter Guage rolling stock has proved handy in serving these markets.
According to a Railways Ministry official, the coaches are customised as per the requirements of Bangladesh Railway and have aesthetically designed interiors and equipped with latest technology.
Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches are passenger compartments of Indian Railways that have been developed by Linke-Hofmann-Busch of German. The coaches are considered to be “anti-telescopic”, which means they do not get turned over or flip in case of a collision (chiefly head-on).