Ramakanta Biswas

In order to provide a comfortable and jerk-free travel experience to passengers, the Bhubaneswar-Jagdalpur Hirakhand Express (08445/08446) was flagged off with modern Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches at Bhubaneswar railway station on Friday.

Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnav flagged off the inaugural run of the augmented LHB rakes of the Hirakhand Express through video conferencing. 

LHB rakes have been designed with superior features, focus on safety, speed, and passengers' comfort. The train will now run with 12 coaches including one AC 2 Tier, two AC-3 Tier, four Sleeper Class, three Second Class Seating and two Guard cum Luggage and Divyangjan Coaches.

Hirakhand Express which caters to the needs of the people of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was running with 740 passengers with the old coaches. Following the introduction of the new coaches, the total carrying capacity will increase to around 850 passengers.

Grand arrangements have been made at stations in Berhampur, Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Koraput to showcase the flagging off of the new Hirakhand Express with new LHB rakes.  

Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches were first introduced in the East Coast Railway in 2013. So far it has introduced 1257 LHB coaches in its fleet covering 39 pairs of mail express trains.  

Speaking on the occasion, Vaishnaw said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been stressing upon the need for bringing about reforms in Railways. The vision is to make a wholesome transformation and not just incremental changes." Our Government is pursuing these projects on an express mode. Every year about Rs 6000 crore to Rs 7000 crore is being sanctioned in the budget for development of rail infrastructure in Odisha.” 

“The Union government is committed to provide better connectivity and amenities to our esteemed passengers. Introducing new modern LHB rakes in Hirakhand Express will provide better and more pleasant journey experience to train passengers,” Vaishnaw added. 

Hirakhand Express covers its journey of 784 kms from Bhubaneswar to Jagdalpur having stoppages at 21 intermediate stations in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh under East Coast Railway jurisdiction. 

LHB coaches are anti-telescopic, safer, lighter, and more comfortable and jerk-free. Replacement of ICF conventional coaches phase wise with LHB coaches is being done from safety point of view.