To fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, the Indian Railways has turned the coaches of old trains into isolation wards to accommodate infected patients.
Each cabin of the coach will hold one patient. To turn the coaches into isolation wards, the middle berth has been removed from one side for the patient.
All three berths removed in front of the patient berth, all ladders for climbing up the berths have also been removed. The bathrooms, aisle areas, and other areas have also been modified.
The Railways have directed all the Zonal Railways to develop a prototype coach which can be used as a hospital isolation ward to treat coronavirus patients.
The Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala will covert the coaches into isolation wards. Meanwhile, the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai is attempting to manufacture ventilators.
As per the circular issued by the Southern Railway, one Indian style toilet in each end to be converted into a bathing room and provision for plastic curtains in each cabin to provide isolation.
“Coaches which has exceeded 20 years may be taken for conversion. Materials required to convert more coaches should be kept ready,” the circular added.
The Northern Railways has also been directed to conduct a feasibility study to ascertain if it can modify non-air conditioned coaches and cabins as coronavirus isolation wards.
India’s national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways runs 13,523 trains daily. The national transporter has suspended all passenger services till April 14th, 2020 due to nationwide lockdown announced by the Centre to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Photo credit: @PiyushGoyal