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Air Conditioning in Railways

By on June 25, 2013

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 the cost of building etc. This is beside the comfort of travel, reduced maintenance due to the restriction of dust, better revenue per coach. The table below gives the number of seats for which fare is collected, the fare for the journey from a different distance slab and class of travel.

CLASS DISTANCE SLAB-WISE SEATING
CAPACITY
500 1000 2000 3000
IA 1384 2314 3653 4500 24
2A 794 1321 2075 2543 46
FC 665 1102 1720 2317 26
3A 516 839 1275 1501 46
CC 401 653 992 1168 72
SL 184 299 454 535 74
ORDY 108 178 269 317 300

 It may be seen that earning per coach from 3A is better than 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 the passenger as well as Indian Railways generating more revenue. During every year budget ritual of Indian Railways there is a hue and cry if the fare is raised particularly for ordinary second class and not for air conditioning 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 the Electrical Department of Indian Railways right from the inception of air conditioning on trains. However, of late, during the change in the duty list, the coach manufacturing/maintenance is now placed under Member Rolling Stock. The Electrical department at railway board level is now placed under Member Traction. But still, the cadre of coach maintenance related to the then Electrical Department is still from the same parent cadre except under administrative control of Cheif Mechanical Engineer at zonal HQ. Reliability of the 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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