Indian Railways converts coaches into isolation wards

by Shirish Gandhi, Autocar India 28 Mar 2020

Mobility operators in India, whether automotive or on rails, have swung into action to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, even as they have shuttered. As the number of coronavirus cases in India continues to increase, adopting innovative approaches becomes all the more essential to keep the spread of the disease in check and relieve the stress on medical institutions.

Whether it is Maruti Suzuki India, which has joined forces with AgVa Healthcare to make ventilators, Mahindra & Mahindra, which is working on an automated version of the Bag Valve Mask ventilators or Bosch developing a full automated rapid test for Covid 19, they are putting their years of automotive expertise and experience to help save lives. Now the Indian Railways is doing its bit. 

On March 21, the Indian Railways suspended operations of all passenger trains throughout the country till March 31, a timeline which has since then been extended till April 14 in sync with the national lockdown. With scores of trains ceasing operations temporarily, the Indian Railways has decided to leverage the resources at hand and convert coaches into isolation wards for the recovery of Covid-19 patients.

It has initiated the efforts by repurposing LHB sleeper coaches and retrofitting them with additional facilities. Starting off, the main isolation cabin has been tweaked by removing middle berths and only retaining a two-tier arrangement in each of the patient bays. Every cell has further been sealed off by installation of privacy boards and curtains. To support medical equipment, all the bays have been provided with accessories such as bottle holders and 220V power supply outlets. In this manner, each coach has been divided into 10 patient bays/cells. Fifty percent of the washrooms in the coach have also been repurposed into bathrooms, replete with shower facilities. 

Other upgrades include installation of air curtains to isolate individual coaches from each other, as well as the provision of an external 415V electric supply to handle the additional load.

Image courtesy: Piyush Goyal/Twitter

Also see: Maruti Suzuki to commence production of ventilators and masks as coronavirus cases surge  

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