Growth of Air Conditioning assets in Railways is almost at the same rate as that for stationary application of residential, housing and shopping complex. Air Conditioning is no more a luxury but can be justified with a reasonable rate of return. The return is justified when air conditioning is in the plan of the overall design of building/coach/space. Air conditioning can help in reducing space/occupant and thus reducing cost of building etc. This is beside the comfort of travel, reduced maintenance due to restriction of dust, better revenue per coach. The table below gives the number of seats for which fare is collected, fare for journey from a different distance slab and class of travel.
It may be seen that earning per coach from 3A is better then SL coach and will certainly encourage 3A travel more and more in time to come.
With rising income, there will certainly be a shift from second class sleeper coach to Air Conditioned 3 tier coach, a win win situation for passenger as well as Indian Railways generating more revenue. During every year budget ritual of Indian Railways there is hue and cry if the fare is raised particularly for ordinary second class and not for air conditioned class. Thus Air conditioned travel over Indian Railways will grow at a much faster rate.
Administrative, Managerial and Technical aspects of air conditioning on trains and stationary installation is under the control of Electrical Department of Indian Railways right from the inception of air conditioning on trains. Reliability of air conditioning system has to be of the highest order as its failure creates suffocation and very high level of uncomfortable, difficult for the passenger to tolerate. Air conditioning is finding application in EMU coaches and even locomotive cab for the comfort of Loco pilot. Thus, Study of basics of air conditioning, working of different arrangements is very important for every electrical engineer working over Indian Railways.
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