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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cheran Express to run with all new Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches

How much do you relish rail journey, especially, if you are to travel during day-time. In our school days, there was a lesson  on ‘seeing people off’ – tradition of yesteryears when  one had to travel away from their home, friends and relatives would come to railway station to give a send-off.  I heartily remember that day on 10th Aug 1990 when I travelled to Kakinada by Circar Express on transfer and best of my friends sent me off ! at Central station.

Uthiyan Cheralatan (Perum Chorru Udiyan Cheralathan) is the first recorded Chera ruler of the Sangam period in ancient South India.  His queen was Veliyan Nallini, the daughter of Veliyan Venman. Uthiyan Cheralathan was a contemporary of the Chola ruler Karikala Chola.  Cheras were the ruling dynasty of the present-day state of Kerala and to a lesser extent, parts of Tamil Nadu in South India.  Chera, Chola and Pandia Kings ruled the southern parts alongside Pallavas and other kingdoms. The Later Cheras were also known  as the Kulasekharas.  Senguttuvan, the most celebrated of the Chera kings, is famous for the legends surrounding Kannagi, the heroine of the epic Silapathikaram. It is read that the Chera kings started their imperial expansion from the Kuttanad region  and sailed to many parts of the globe expanding trade. 

In India, trains are named after rivers, kings, kingdoms,  origin, destination, capitals, and many many more … while that applies to passenger trains, freight trains generally have only numbers.  The  Cheran Express connects Chennai and Coimbatore and does not touch Kerala  - is a daily train that runs in the night.  From Chennai to Coimbatore the distance of  494 km traversed in 8h 5m.  Cheran Express halts at  Arakonam, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode , Tiruppur & Coimbatore

Linke-Hofmann-Busch was a German manufacturing company originally established in Breslau to produce locomotives and rolling stock. It is now part of Alstom, the name Linke-Hofmann-Busch became defunct in 2009 when it became ALSTOM Transport Germany GmbH. During World War I, it became one of many companies in Germany drawn into the aircraft industry even though they had no prior experience in aircraft design. There are LHB coaches of German technology now getting manufactured from Integral Coach Factory, Kapurthala.

All along in a 2nd class sleeper compartment, you have 72 berths [slightly more when converted as seats as the side lower berths could double up for 2 passengers as seats]; one can count and say whether it is Lower, Middle, Upper, Side lower or Side upper reckoning multiples of 8  ~ that is set to change.  Passengers on board Cheran Express beginning Wednesday (November 8) from Coimbatore and Thursday (November 9) from Chennai will have the pleasant experience of travelling in Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches made of German technology.

The LHB coaches bring in more passenger capacity as the coaches are 23.54 m long and 3.24 m wide. They will have 80 seats per coach.   Each coach with a tare weight of 39.5 tonnes are made of steel with modular interiors. The coaches could be run at 160 to 200 kmph. As against the 792 berths in 11 second sleeper coaches in conventional coaches, the 10 LHB coaches bring in 800 berths, five third AC coaches in conventional coaches had 320 berths and now it stands enhanced to 360 berths.  Biotoilets, designer washbasins with mirrors and cell phone charging points are added advantages, say officials. Coaches will be elegant, sleek and compact and are designed as anti-telescopic and will not turn over or flip in the event of collisions and the coaches are equipped with pneumatic disc brakes.

Originally, Cheran Express had 24 coaches, of which one coach (pantry car) was not used on the night journey on Coimbatore - Chennai - Coimbatore section, practically reducing the number of coaches to 23. Now, there will be 22 LHB coaches still bringing in higher passenger capacity. The  22 brand new Linke Hofmann Bush (LHB) coaches manufactured at the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala, Punjab, with German technical know-how  reached Coimbatore in the early hours on Saturday.

Due to this, almost all the 90 RAC passengers (as on Nov. 4) will be accommodated in the sleeper class and in three-tier and two-tier A/C class. Passengers can even avail current booking as 18 berths were available on Saturday as per IRCTC website.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
5th Nov. 2017.

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