Fighting COVID-19: Railways to modify 20000 coaches which can accommodate 3.2 lakh isolation beds
- 20000 coaches to accommodate 3.2 lakh possible isolation beds for COVID-19 patients
- Isolation coaches to be equipped with all necessary facilities
- Initially, 5000 coaches being prepared to accommodate up to 80000 beds
As part of COVID-19 preparedness, Indian Railways has decided to modify 20000 coaches into quarantine/ isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country. These modified 20000 coaches can accommodate up to 3.2 lakh possible beds for isolation needs.
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/ isolation coaches.
Reportedly, work on modification of 5000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine/ isolation coaches has already started. These 5000 coaches would be having a capacity to accommodate up to 80000 beds. One coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.
Only Non-AC ICF sleeper coaches are being planned to be utilized for conversion into Quarantine/ isolation coaches. One Indian style toilet is to be converted into a bathing room. It is to be equipped with bucket, mug and soap dispenser. Taps with lift type handle would be provided in washbasins. Similar tap will be provided at proper height so that buckets 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 a 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. Extra 3 peg coat hooks, 2 per cabin to be provided. Mosquito net to be provided on windows to avoid mosquito entry inside and have proper ventilation too. Each cabin will be provided with 3 dustbins with foot-operated lids of Red, Blue and Yellow Colour suitably lined with garbage bags.
For insulation of the coaches, Bamboo/Khus mats may be affixed/ pasted on the roof and each side of coach above and below windows to shield the effect of heat inside the 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.
Of the initial 5000 coaches, zone wise allocation for converting these coaches is as follows:
Director-General, Railway Health Services will issue detailed SOP for operation and use of these quarantine/isolation coaches/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.