New Delhi: Indian Railways is introducing Linke Holfmann Busch passenger coaches progressively in train services including existing and certain important Rajdhani and Mail/Express trains. Since its introduction, LHB coaches have been inducted on about 14 Rajdhani, 12 Shatabdi and 11 AC Duronto services.
The German technology LHB coaches, have been chosen over indigenous ICF coaches, as they are of fire-retardant quality and feature advanced couplers. Railways expected to enhance production capacity of its coach factories to 2,000 LHB coaches in 2014-15 and another 4,000 in 2016-17. LHB coaches have a higher carrying capacity of about 10-12 per cent as compared to the corresponding ICF design coaches and have better riding comfort, higher speed potential, longer life, upgraded amenities, provision of control discharge toilet system, lower maintenance requirement, enhanced safety features and aesthetic interiors. The carrying capacity of unreserved general class coach is 90 in respect of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coach, 100 in Hybrid design coach (SGS) and 99 in Linke Hoffman Bush (LHB) design general coach.
A rail coach factory at Palakkad has been sanctioned in Public Private Partnership mode for production of LHB coaches. Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala is already a Coach Production Unit to International standards. Projects have also been sanctioned to further upgrade the facilities at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala and Integral Coach Factory, Chennai to increase production of LHB design coaches. LGB was acquired acquired through a Transfer of Technology (TOT) agreement with ALSTOM, Germany. A complete switchover to new manufacture of only LHB design coaches is envisaged by the end of the five year plan 2012-17. The average differential in the cost of manufacture of LHB design coach and the corresponding Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coach is presently approximately Rs. 75 lakh to 1 crore, but this is expected to reduce significantly with volume production of LHB coaches.