Mumbai: Western Railway to introduce robots to clean coaches

Oct 27, 2018, 15:45 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar

Western Railway is first in country to introduce robots to clean air ducts in coaches, along with unique air-freshening system in train toilets

Mumbai: Western Railway to introduce robots to clean coaches
The robotic brushes can reach areas that a human can't

Soon, passengers on outstation trains will be able to breathe easier in the knowledge that even though the same air is circulating in their AC coach, at least it is being purified by hard-working robots. Western Railway (WR) has become the first railway network in India to get robots for this job.

Clearing the air
The closed loop of air conditioning often results in contaminated air continuously circulating in small spaces, leading to infections or other health issues. WR officials said that as per environmental guidelines, indoor air quality can have long-term effects on health.

"WR has engaged specialised services that include air duct cleaning by robots with a specific purpose, such as inspection survey, cleaning, scrubbing, dust sucking, etc. All these robots are fitted with an advanced controller mechanism and a high-resolution camera. These duct-cleaning robots can reach areas that a human can never reach, and camera robots can show you hidden contaminants. These purpose-built robots can clean the most difficult-to-reach corners in the air duct," said Ravinder Bhakar, chief public relations officer for WR.

Flushing all odours out
"This is a first in Indian Railways and Western Railway is the pioneer to offer cleaner coaches. We do this every time the train comes up for maintenance," he added. This is in addition to the venturi system, which involves fitting two pipes in the toilet, one o bring in fresh air and another to discharge odours, along with exhaust fans near the toilet seat in outstation trains. These are tricks that the Lower Parel workshop has been experimenting with to keep foul odours at bay.

"In addition to the toilets, it is also important to clean up the passenger seating area, which is always crowded. We are also using ozone sterilization in the entire duct for better performance and to maintain air quality," said Bhakar.

'All trains Rajdhani'
WR is looking to convert all its trains into Rajdhani-class, LHB-type trains and the workshop at Lower Parel is the first in India to begin Rajdhani-level maintenance since 2004. "There are now plans to upgrade the workshop to include more such facilities, so that it is equipped to handle the new type of coaches," Bhakar said.

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