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Indian Railways decided to introduce Vacuum Toilet

By on November 25, 2013

There is a good news that Indian Railways deciding to introduce Vacuum Toilet at a cost of Rs. 25 Crs. in few selective trains.


But for what, certainly to conduct trials of a successful technology of aircraft. Unless adequate care is taken, trials may result poor decision making at a later stage.

1. Trials are with the purpose of introduction of  new technologies in Indian Context

Firstly it should be tried on general coaches with about 200 passenger resulting highest duty cycle to test the technologies in most stringent condition. Why in Swaran Shatabdi Train ( a day time train)  with limited usage? Indian Railways be careful to initiate trial on such network which will give a wrong performance evaluation and as usual things will fail after second stage introduction. If it is successful in GS coaches, it will be at all locations. 

Introduction in any class possible if successful in GS coaches.

Introduction on tourist trains is certainly a must as it adds value to tourism.  

2. For improved passenger comfort

Yes, it may help the passenger to some level

3. Environment-friendly vacuum-based toilets consume less quantity of water and flush the toilet very effectively in the shortest possible time.

Yes it will consumer less water but consumes excess energy for maintaining vacuüm as compared to availability of water.

4. Vacuum toilets also prevent corrosion of rail tracks as they stop waste discharge on tracks.

One train alone cannot help in prevention of corrosion of track and its fittings. If this is the  financial benefit, we are looking for, then trains shall be selected on the basis of specific section so that at least after 2-3 years one can evaluate the results of benefiting the corrosion aspect of track.

From the above it is clear that the trials are for the purpose to introduce technology at a later stage. Other benefits are difficult to evaluate. While undertaking trials, care has to be taken

  • Maintenance Cost
  • Availability of power supply
  • Sturdiness of passenger interface items like push buttons etc.
  • Indianisation shall be in Indian Rupees and not at the cost derived after converting Dollars into rupees.

Indian Railway may consider the suggestion so that the investment for development of product goes in the right direction.

Indian Railways introduced toilet for the first time in the year 1909, almost 60 after the introduction of rail base transport system. It has taken almost 100 years to plan for the introduction of bio-toilet. It is stated in one of the document that bio-toilet is already fitted in 1400 coaches and it will take another 7 years to have all the coaches converted into bio-toilet. 

Bio and Vacuum Toilet will change the face of Indian Railways and improve the standards of cleanliness for which the Railways had been struggling since long.

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