Indian Railways has found an ingenious solution by converting train coaches into Isolation wards to provide facilities to quarantine oneself against the outbreak of coronavirus and fight against the spread of the virus in the country.
In a bid to increase the country’s capacity for isolation facilities, the Railways is converting sleeper class coaches into Covid – 19 isolation wards by modifying the coaches as per prototype issued by Railway Board to make them suitable to act as quarantine hubs. These coaches are clean, sanitized and have hygienic surroundings for the patients to comfortably recover.
Indian Railways is planning to initially modify 5,000 passenger coaches to meet the requirement of any possible exigency of keeping some Covid-19 patients in isolation as and when required by the Government.
This has been possible due to the nation-wide lockdown which began on March 25th where Indian Railways has suspended all passenger train services across the country.
In this connection, consultations were held with Armed Forces Medical Services, Medical Department of Railways and Ayushman Bharath. This coach isolation prototype has been issued by Railway Board on 30th Mar.2020.
The coaches will be equipped with basic facilities needed as per medical guidelines. Provision is being made for charging points of mobiles and laptops. Mosquito nets with space for paramedics etc are also being ensured. Each coach will provide 8 berth cabin for isolation facility. Zonal Railways have been advised to prepare coaches as per isolation cabin prototype to meet the needs of the patients by Railway Board.
On SWR, 312 coaches will be converted for isolation/quarantine wards.
The distribution of same Workshops and Depots wise is as below:
Hubballi Workshop-120, Mysuru Workshop-120, Hubballi Depot-18,
Bengaluru Depot -18, Yesvantpur Depot – 18,
Mysuru Depot -18.
As per Isolation cabin Prototype approved, the following modifications are being carried out to the coaches.
§ Middle Berths, ladders are removed to ensure comfort & better space.
§ Plastic Transparent Air Curtains for Isolation also screening
§ Bottle Holders in each compartment for holding Medical Equipments as well as Water Bottles.
§ The first cabin near the bathroom shall be provided with two hospital/plastic curtains transversely in the aisle so that the entry and exit to the entire 8 berth cabin can be sealed off.
§ This cabin will be used as store/paramedic area
§ Oxygen cylinder will be provided by the medical department for which suitable clamping arrangement on the side berth side of this cabin will be provided.
§ Electric Sockets for operating electrical equipments.
§ Two bathrooms and Two Lavatory (One Indian & One Western) are provided diagonally in the coach.
§ Tap with one bucket and mug is provided in the bathroom.
§ Over head shower operated through roof mounted handle.
§ 2.5 KVA inverter is fitted at the bottom of coach to meet the power-cut situation.
§ Inverter control MCBs provided inside the junction box.
§ 110V DC input
The efforts of Indian Railways have been aimed not only to supplement the present health infrastructure of the nation but also to contribute to national efforts to fight the coronavirus.