Mysore/Mysuru: Engineers, technicians, workers and supervisors of South Western Railway (SWR), Mysuru Division, are working overtime to convert train coaches into Isolation Wards, providing an ingenuous, clean, sanitised and hygienic surroundings for COVID-19 patients to comfortably recover.
A team of 60 to 75 persons are working in two shifts every day to convert coaches into Wards as specified by the Railway Board. In all, the South Western Railway has a task of converting 312 coaches and the Mysuru Division Workshop has a target of completing 120 coaches while the Mysuru Depot has taken on the task of converting 18 coaches into Wards.
A total of 138 coaches are being readied at Central Workshop Ashokapuram, Mysuru and CDO Office, Mysuru and already 18 coaches have been converted into Isolation Wards with all the necessary equipment and separate cabins.
Each coach can accommodate eight patients. Divisional Railway Manager Aparna Garg and Divisional Commercial Manager and PRO Priya Shetty told reporters that since Mysuru already has sufficient medical facilities and equipment to handle Coronavirus patients, the coaches made in Mysuru will travel to other destinations.
The Railway Board and the Centre will decide on the location of Isolation Wards depending on the need and the number of patients affected by the pandemic, they added. “The trains, once ready, will be sent to any location that might be facing a hospital bed crunch due to a potential spike in positive cases,” Aparna Garg said.
The Indian Railways network, which is the world’s fourth-largest rail operator and India’s biggest employer, already operates 125 hospitals across the nation, has the expertise to expand into mobile beds. As the trains are mobile, have a broad reach, have toilets, can be put along stations and can reach nook and corner of the country this idea of coach conversion has been implemented.
As per the specifications mentioned by the Railway Board, non-air conditioned carriages that are no longer in operation on passenger routes are being converted into Wards and will be ready for use in case of an emergency.
Officials said that if necessary, more carriages can be converted into Isolation Wards within 48 hours. The Mysuru Division is aiming to complete all the 138 coaches in another 10 days, officials added.