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Unreserved coach crowding is still an issue.

New Delhi: The railways ministry has requested that its zonal officials identify trains that include reserved sleeper coaches with low occupancy rates in order to perhaps convert those sections to unreserved sleeper sections and therefore ease the congestion in general coaches.

The Railway Board “has issued instructions to convert GSCN (general sleeper class) coaches into GS (unreserved), especially in the trains operating during the day with very low occupancy or where there is very low demand,” according to an internal letter dated August 21.

The communication, which HT obtained, further stated: “It is directed that trains/sections where occupancy is very poor be identified and send the recommendation for converting sleeper class reserved (GSCN) coaches into GS (unreserved), so that local passengers/commuters/daily passengers are benefited along with generation of additional railway revenue. On this issue, immediate action is anticipated.

Unnamed railway official with knowledge of the situation said, “Overcrowding in unreserved coaches remains a problem as tickets for general compartments are issued up until the train leaves the originating station and en route stoppage stations without any limit.”

A two-tier AC bus can hold 48–54 berths, but an AC first class coach can hold 18–24 berths (depending on the standard ICF or new LHB vehicles). Sleeper coaches with 72–80 berths and three-tier AC coaches with 64–72 berths each are available. Although an unreserved bus may hold 90 passengers, they are frequently filled with more than 180.

A former railways official who also requested anonymity said: “One reason behind overcrowding in general coaches is that the railways has been reducing the number of such coaches in the last few years to accommodate more three-tier AC coaches which are more profitable.”

The official said, “After COVID-19, the railways stopped operating the Jansadharan Express, unreserved general compartment trains, as they were thought to be loss-making.”

Following the Balasore train disaster, which claimed the lives of 295 passengers, the railway board ordered the provision of inexpensive food, water, and vendor carts next to unreserved coaches at all stoppages and requested its zonal units to ensure cleanliness and water accessibility en route.

The general second (GS) class coaches, which are linked to the front and back of all mail and express trains, are meant to make passengers’ trips more comfortable, according to railway officials.

Source- Hindustan times
Link- https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/railways-ministry-to-convert-low-occupancy-sleeper-coaches-into-unreserved-sections-to-reduce-congestion-101693163018065.html


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