Coronavirus outbreak: Railways to turn coaches into quarantine/isolation wards

Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 08:01 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Central Railway aims to have 482 coaches, while Western Railway will have 410; Indian Railways to prepare 20,000 coaches for the same

The converted coaches will be taken to places where treatment is needed
The converted coaches will be taken to places where treatment is needed

Eight places in Mumbai — Wadibunder, LTT Kurla, Matunga, Parel, Lower Parel, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai Central and Bandra Terminus — have been identified to prepare rail coaches to serve as quarantine wards to treat Coronavirus patients. While 482 such coaches will be ready in the next two weeks on Central Railway, on Western Railway, a prototype at Bhavnagar is ready. The rail coaches will be taken to areas where treatment is needed. Sources said though the Western Railway has been given a target of converting 410 coaches, it has about 360 coaches presently that are over 15 years age, which will be used for the wards.

Coaches being prepared
Indian Railways said it is prepared to modify 20,000 coaches into quarantine/isolation coaches to augment the quarantine facilities being created in the country.

These modified 20,000 coaches could accommodate upto 3.2 lakh beds. Work on the modification of 5,000 coaches, which are to be converted initially into quarantine/ isolation coaches, has already started. These 5,000 coaches will have the capacity to accommodate 80,000 beds. Each coach is expected to have 16 beds for isolation.

"We will try to complete work in next two weeks. In Mumbai, this work will be done at Matunga and Parel workshops, and Wadibunder and LTT depots. More than 50% coaches will be converted into isolation wards at Matunga and Parel. Work at Matunga workshop has already started," a railway source said.

5,000
No. of coaches being currently modified

80,000
No. of beds they will accomodate

About the coaches

. Only Non-AC Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) sleeper coaches will be converted

. One Indian style toilet will be converted into a bathing room

. The fi.rst cabin near the bathing room will have two hospital/plastic curtains transversely to screen entry and exit to the eight-berth cabins. This cabin will be used as store/paramedics area.

. Each cabin will have two oxygen cylinders, mosquito nets on windows

. Both middle berths to be removed

. For insulation of the coaches, bamboo/khus mats may be affixed to shield from heat

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