Foot-operated taps & ionised AC air: Railways preps for travel post-Covid

A washbasin with foot-operated water tap and soap dispenser. Photo: Twitter
From foot-operated soap dispensers and toilet flushes to door handles manoeuvred with the forearm and handrails coated with anti-microbial copper, the Railways’ new coaches for post-Covid travel launched on Tuesday come packed with features to help stave off infection.

The first two coaches that rolled out from the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala also have fixtures coated with titanium dioxide and the provision for plasma air equipment in AC ducts to sterilise interiors using ionised air, officials said.

All future coaches will now have these specifications, a railway spokesperson said. “The present ones will also be retrofitted to include these changes wherever possible,” he said.

The specifications will cost the Railways Rs 6 lakh-7 lakh per coach.  Giving details of the two coaches, one air-conditioned and other non-air conditioned, officials said the use of hands to navigate washrooms and other parts has been brought down to a minimum, making them almost hands-free.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also indicated that the new coaches could be the new normal. “Future Ready Railway: Designed to fight Coronavirus, Railways creates 1st Post-Covid Coach' with handsfree amenities, copper-coated handrails & latches, plasma air purification, Titanium di-oxide coating. “For Covid-free passenger journey!”

The features, detailed in a booklet circulated by the Railways, include a host of foot-operated fixtures such as taps, soap dispensers, lavatory doors, flush valves and door latches.  Outside the toilet is a wash basin with a foot operated tap forearm. Besides, the compartment doors have handles operated with the forearm.

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