In 1993-94  Indian Railways decided to look for a new passenger coach design. which will suit India's specific need for high speed light weight coaches to run in Indian Railways within the present infrastructure. Main features of the specification were the specific railway and track conditions, the specific environmental conditions in India and the operating speed of 160 km/h. It was also decided that this design will be  first  tried and used in the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala (RCF) and after successful implementation  also in the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur (ICF) at a later stage.

After a global competition, ALSTOM LHB was selected by Indian Railways and received the order to design and develop the new generation coach .

Contracts from Indian Railways

In 1995 ,  ALSTOM LHB received  an order from Indian Railways  to design and develop a new passenger coach . The main targets of the contracts given are the new coach design for manufacturing a new type of coach  in the factories of Indian Railways and the improvement of the manufacturing techniques in their factories to make them suitable for the new coach design and manufacture. This was named IR 20.

For this purpose, ALSTOM LHB received two contracts which have to be seen as a unit.

The contract for the supply of „All Metal Light Weight High Speed Coaches for Broad Gauge“ includes the development, design and manufacture of

These vehicles are developed in accordance with the specification of Indian Railways.

The contract for the Transfer of Technology includes the transfer of technology for design and manufacturing, the training of Indian Railways personnel in the premises of the manufacturer and the technical assistance at RCF during the start of production.

 Main features

The broad gauge vehicle with a length of 23,54 m and a width of 3,24 m results in a high passenger capacity. The tare weight of the AC 2nd Chair Car was weighed as 39,5 t.

The proven bogie based on the EUROFIMA concept is provided by FIAT-SIG. The automatic centre buffer tight lock coupler of AAR type offer optimum service conditions and maximum safety.

The two-and-three seating arrangement in the 2nd class chair car gives a capacity of 78 seats. The seat are arranged half in moving direction, the other half against with a table in the centre.

Two oriental and one western style toilet are provided. In the remaining corner the central switchboard cabinet is located.

Each vehicle is equipped with a pantry for storing cold and hot meals which are to be served to the passengers at their seats.

Design features of the new passenger coaches

The design features of the new coaches will be explained on the example of the AC 2nd Chair Car.


The shell is a steel lightweight construction made from stainless and low-corrosive steels. For the underframe IRSM-R41 is used. The frame work and the wall panelling is made out of ferritic stainless steel DIN 1.4003 and the roof panel out the austenitic stainless steel DIN 1.4301.

The isolation of the body provides an efficient heat and sound insulation. The floor is from makore wood.

THE INTERIOR     Click to enlarge

The AC open saloon chair cars focus on the future vehicle needs in India. The modular design represents an innovative concept for long distance passenger traffic. The main view above (thumbnail) shows the 2 + 3 seating arrangement with a table in the center, the luminous band in the middle between the air-ducts, the luggage racks with the integrated reading lamps, the windows with roller blind and the GRP panels on ceiling and side walls.

The luggage racks have front parts from aluminium profiles and side covers from aluminium castings. The safety glass pane closes the luggage rack completely. The halogen reading lamps are integrated and are adjusted to each seat.

The modular design of the ceiling with 3 mm GRP panels integrates the lighting arrangement, the AC outlet and the loudspeakers of the public address system.

The high comfort seats with in its range infinitely adjustable reclining back rests are equipped with snack table, magazine net and bottle holder. The footrest can be fixed in three positions. The floor is covered with PVC which is glued to the wooden floor in a kind that water can not penetrate.            

The entrance doors are made of the same steel as the car body shell. They are flush with the sidewall tonew_ge4.jpg (8300 bytes) allow easy car-washing. Two handholds and three fixed steps are provided to enter the coach.

The door inward opening to the entrance area is covered from inside with a FRP panel. Above the door is an entrance light. The entrance steps are closed by a foldable cover. An inside handhold allows easy entry and exit. An ashtray is also provided.

The entrance area and the sitting area are separated by the single leaf sliding passenger room door with automatic closing device. The door is made of stainless steel and has in the lower half an exhaust air grill.

In the gangway between the passenger room door and the entrance is on one side the pantry and on the other side the storage area. The pantry is closed by a double leaf sliding door and the storage area by roller shutters.

The pantry is functionally organised so that the available space is used in an optimum manner. new_ge5.jpg (17796 bytes)
On the left side a 15 lit water boiler, a 11 lit soup-warmer, a sink and racks are provided.
 On the right side you find the 3 hot cases, the bottle cooler, the refrigerator and the deep freezer for the 78 passengers.The storage area gives space for racks and also for the serving trolley.


On the outside wall of the toilet a waste bin and a fire extinguisher are located. The fire extinguisher on the power panel end is filled with CO˛, the one on the other end with water. The toilet doors are of a folding type to use the available space in an optimum. toilet1.jpg (9950 bytes)

On the one side of the toilet you find the wash basin with water tap and sensor button, the soap dispenser, the mirror, an ash tray and a waste bin. On the other side you find the toilet itself, a water tap with mug, a handhold, the toilet paper holder and the sensor button for the toilet flush.

In the AC 2nd class chair car two toilets are of oriental type and one is of western type. The window in the toilet can be opened in the upper half. In Executive class two toilets are western and one toilet is oriental.

AC  EQUIPMENT       new_ge10.gif (130279 bytes)

In one corner of the coach the switch board cabinet is provided. The outside is covered by high pressure laminated walls and doors into which large glass panes are integrated.

After opening the switch board cabinet doors all electrical control equipment located centrally here can easily be accessed. The equipment is fixed to different layers which can be opened one after the other.

The air conditioning system comprises 2 roof-mounted compact units located one at each coach end. The 2 units are controlled by one microprocessor located in the switchboard cabinet to ensure a proper functioning of both units together. The operating voltage of the unit is 3 phase, 415 V, 50 Hz. Each unit has 2 refrigerant circuits with hermetic refrigerant compressors, condensers with Cu pipes and Al fins, evaporators and condenser fans.

The fresh air is coming in via the air inlet of the AC unit. The conditioned air is transported in heat insulated aluminium ducts mounted below the roof and distributed via the perforated ceiling into the passenger room. The return air is flowing back via openings above the compartment door to the AC unit. The entrance area, toilets and pantry are connected to the exhaust air system.

The vestibule is of UIC rubber type. The vestibule door is a double leaf stainless steel sliding door. On the left side the socket of the local 415 V supply is located.


The automatic center buffer coupler of AAR tight lock type at the coach end has a support frame which is providing an anti-climbing protection. The coupler can be opened from the side by a lever. The design allows the use of screw coupler instead of center buffer coupler. Therefore a fixing plate for buffers is also provided. The inter-vehicle coupler for the supply of the 750 V from the generator car is located below the under-frame. Due to the moving situation 4 brake hoses are to be used at the coach end which are brought to two hoses behind the coupler.


The two connected fresh water tanks with a total capacity of 1370 lit for the 3 toilets are made of stainless steel. The water level is indicated on one tank on each side. The filling can be made from both sides by one filler for both tanks.

Three intermediate water tanks, each with a capacity of 30 lit, made out of stainless steel are located above the toilets. Two centrifugal pumps located in a stainless steel casing at the under frame are supplying the water to the tanks. One of the 415 V pumps is always working, the other is standby. After each switch off the other pump will work.

Below each toilet a 40 lit waste water tank is provided in which the toilet waste is collected when the coach is standing. It will be opened with a pneumatically operated sliding valve when a defined speed is reached. The junction box for the inter-vehicle coupler is visible.


A 60 kVA transformer with copper winding is transforming the power given by the generator car from 750 V to 415 V.


All brake control equipment is centrally located in a brake container. A main brake pressure reservoir of 125 lit and a service pressure reservoir of 75 lit are provided.


The FIAT-SIG bogie is a welded H frame type based on the Eurofima bogie. The wheel base is 2560 mm, the wheel diameter new 915 mm and at maximum wear 845 mm. Main features of the bogie are primary suspension with articulated arms and coil springs, secondary suspension of integral flexicoil type with coil springs and rubber pads on top and bottom, anti-roll bar, vertical and transverse shock absorbers and anti-hunting dampers. For braking on each axle two disc brakes with 640 mm diameter, brake cylinders and automatic slack adjuster are provided.

  Benefits of the new coach technology

The new coaches and their technology will give benefits in different areas.

As benefits for the passengers can be named the improved ride comfort, the comfortable seats with infinitely adjustable back rest, the good appearance of the side wall where no screws are visible, the improved air duct design for better air flow and cooling, the big sized windows with functional roller blinds which give good visibility, the luggage racks with integrated lamps for all seats, the anti drumming feature and sound insulation which reduce noise, the functional toilets for oriental and western style which allow easy cleaning and the optimised design of the pantry with the functional trolley.

As benefits for the safety of travel can be named the modern design of vestibule for inter car connection, the anti-climbing feature to prevent climbing of coaches in case of collision, the improved brake system with wheel slide protection and electro pneumatic brake features and the use of fire code for materials following state of art practices.

As system benefits can be named the coach length increased by ~ 2 m which gives extra carrying capacity (AC chair car carries 78 passengers against 67 in existing design), the coach weight reduced for lower hauling costs (AC chair car weight brought down by around 7 t), the ease of manufacture by suitable material selection and design, the use of anti-corrosive materials to give better corrosion protection and the toilets designed for discharge at predetermined speeds to help station cleanliness. Also can be named the improved availability by longer intervals between maintenance schedules and  the enhanced maintenance friendliness through easy accessibility and exchangeability of wearing parts, entrance doors which are flush with the side wall for automatic car washing, the functional switch board cabinet with centrally located and easily accessible electrical equipment, the closed roof mounted air conditioning units eliminating incidences of water dripping into the coach and the glued PVC floor which allows no floor damage through water seepage

Delivery to Indian Railways      

The first 3 coaches were delivered from Germany in the beginning of year 2000  and were unloaded in Calcutta on 22.02.2000. After putting the coaches beside the ship they were taken over by Indian Railways. In an official function the coaches were handed over to Indian Railways on 16.03.2000 on New Delhi railway station. The coach first covered by a symbolic Indian coach was unveiled with a tremendous railway sound. During the visit to the coach the atmosphere of future train travel and the benefits could be sensed.


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