Apathy coupled with lack of planning has resulted in a new rake with 22 modern coaches left to rust, all for want of a pantry car.
Worse still, the rake lying at Edappally in Kochi for over a month has some of its window glass panes broken. The authorities admit that it could take some time for a suitable pantry car to be designed and made for such a modern rake. It has six AC-3 tier coaches, CCTV cameras and biotoilets and was meant for the Kerala Express to New Delhi. The Linke Holfmann Busch (LMB) coaches built using German technology are not only more comfortable but have a number of in-built safety attributes that other coaches do not have, railway officials assert. They admit that two similar rakes allotted to the division earlier had to be given away to others owing to this issue.
These types of rakes are not designed to have pantry cars. And ordinary ones cannot be attached to them, they claim. And since the train meant to use such type of modern coaches has to travel for more than two days to reach its destination (Delhi), it cannot go without pantry cars.
But these officials make no commitment on using these coaches for some of the weekly trains. This will not only ensure they are put to use but also give passengers a better experience, is what a section of the staff says. According to the railway in Kochi, the division has written to the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala to design ordinary pantry cars and also ensure early delivery.
It is only Rajdhani Express that has an LHB pantry car which is air-conditioned. And so, designing and making an LHB pantry car should be no issue if officials decide to apply the right pressure at the right place. Or else, the rake may 'rust in pieces' or may even go to some other division, it is feared.