Indian Railway to modify 20,000 coaches to accommodate 32,000 beds for isolation needs
New Delhi/UNI: The Indian Railways has decided to modify 20,000 coaches into isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country as part of COVID-19 preparedness.
In this connection consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of various Zonal Railways, and Ayushman Bharat, Ministry of Health, Government of India.
Five Zonal Railways have already prepared prototypes for the quarantine coaches.
The modified coaches can accommodate upto 320,000 possible beds for isolation needs. Work on modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine/isolation coaches has already started.
These 5,000 coaches would be having capacity to accommodate upto 80,000 beds. One coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.
Only non-AC ICF sleeper coaches are being planned to be utilised for conversion into quarantine/isolation coaches.
One Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room and will be equipped with bucket, mug and soap dispenser.
Taps with lift type handle would be provided in washbasins. Similar tap to be provided at proper height so that bucket can be filled.
The first cabin near the bathing room shall be provided with two hospital/plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire eight berth cabins can be screened off.
This cabin will be used as store/paramedics area. Two oxygen cylinders will also be provided by the Medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin is to be provided.
Both middle berths are to be removed in each cabin. Extra bottle holders shall be provided in each cabin for holding medical equipment, two for each berth. Mosquito net to be provided on windows to avoid mosquito entry inside and have proper ventilation too.
For insulation of the coaches, bamboo/khus mats may be affixed/pasted on roof and each side of coach above and below windows to shield effect of heat inside coach.
All charging points for laptop and mobile to be functional. It must be ensured that all amenity fittings are in place whenever the coaches are requisitioned.
Director General, Railway Health Services will issue detailed SOP for operation and use of these quarantine trains.
The Zonal Railways have been advised to plan for the above modifications immediately and inform the date of readiness of these rakes to Railway Board.
Image credit : UNI