Bamboo blinds, cover sheets: Railways look to cool non-AC COVID-19 coaches

Indian Railways has converted 5,321 non-AC sleeper class ICF coaches and developed them into COVID-19 care level 1 centres

According to guidelines of the Health Ministry, the coaches will be decontaminated everyday with disinfectants Photo: Northern Railways/Twitter

Mandated by the Health Ministry to use non-air conditioned coaches for COVID-19 isolation care centres, Indian Railways is now experimenting with various ways to cool down the interiors of train coaches amidst the summer season.

Some of these options include bamboo blinds on windows and bubble-wrap on the roof as well as heat-resistant coating and portable coolers. Authorities are also using cover-sheets over the coaches to keep the heat out and the interiors cool. These measures will, however, bring the inside temperature down by up 1 degree celsius only, according to an official.

In association with IIT Bombay, a trial had been carried out by placing portable coolers inside the coaches. The temperature reduced of up to three degrees celsius by using the portable coolers.

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The Northern Railways zone has also coated the roof of isolation coaches with heat-reflective paint as a trial and found that the temperature inside can be reduced up to 2.2 degrees Celsius using this method.

The COVID-19 care centres are quipped with handheld showers, mosquito nets, bio-toilets, power sockets, oxygen cylinders and more such facilities, for the comfort of patients. Indian Railways has converted 5,321 non-AC sleeper class ICF coaches and developed them into COVID care level-1 centres for patients with mild symptoms or those suspected to have the infection.

Suspected and confirmed cases will be kept in separate coaches. 960 isolation coaches in five states have already been deployed. These include 503 coaches in Delhi and 372 in Uttar Pradesh.

In these isolation centres, the sleeper coach is divided into eight bays or cabins with each having the capacity for 16 beds. Each coach will have three toilets- one western and two Indian style as well as one bathroom, equipped with handshowers, mug, bucket, and abathroom stool. Chlorine tablets have been placed in the chambers of the bio-toilets, which have bio-enzymes in their tanks to decrease germs caused by human waste.

In these coaches, adequate space has been created to hold IV fluid bottles, extra bottle holders and some clamps have been provided to hang the utilities. Two oxygen cylinders with clamping arrangement have also been provided.

RELATED NEWS: Indian Railways deploys isolation coaches for COVID-19 patients in Delhi

For the segregation of medical waste, there are three different colour-coded dustbins, and mosquito nets have been installed on windows.

According to guidelines of the Health Ministry, the coaches will be decontaminated everyday with disinfectants – freshly prepared with one per cent hypochlorite, and a detergent solution. The surface mopping of floors and cleaning of bathrooms, beds and other related items in the coaches will be carried out thoroughly.

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