New Delhi: After significantly cutting down train delays, the Indian Railways has set another record. With coach-manufacturing picking up, the Railways has produced more Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches in the past two years than it did in the first 17 years that the coaches had come into being.

While 4,020 LHB coaches were made from 2001 to the end of March 2016, as many as 1,470 LHB coaches were manufactured by various coach factories in 2016-2017. Over 5,500 LHB coaches were manufactured between 2017-2018 and December 2018.

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This paradigm shift, according to Rolling Stock, Railway Board member Rajesh Agrawal, has happened because of a watershed moment in 2016 when the work scopes of two Railway Board members were changed. Accordingly, Member, Mechanical was redesignated to Member, Rolling Stock and Member, Electrical was redesignated as Member, Traction. 

The process of manufacturing coaches was streamlined after the redistribution of work between the two departments, which were no longer required to coordinate on every other detail that goes into the making of rolling stock.

In 2000, LHB coaches were first introduced on the Indian Railways network and it was in 2003 that the first indigenous coach was put into service. Based on German technology, LHB coaches not only offer a better riding experience, they are also safer because of anti-climbing features which helps to avoid a pile-up of coaches on top of each other.

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In 2017, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai manufactured the first 100% Make in India LHB coach. The old ICF-design in Indian Railways is being fast replaced by LHB coaches and the production of ICF-designed coaches has been completely stopped now. It is expected that all old ICF-designed coaches would be replaced by LHB coaches in the coming years.