Thiruvananthapuram: The Railways have decided to remove the unreserved coaches for women in long distance trains. However, the officials said that just like in buses, a few seats in the general coaches will be kept reserved for women. Stickers will be pasted to identify the reserved seats.
This new setting was experimented in Thiruvananthapuram – Chennai Mail and Kochuveli – Bengaluru trains in the first phase. Among the three general compartments in these two trains, seats from 1 – 30 of one of the compartments have been kept aside for women. The sudden change gave way for confusion among the passengers, as the stickers reading ‘reserved for women’ appeared above the seats.
The ticket examiners and railway protection force evacuate the men who sit in the reserved seats. Some of them were fined.
Special coaches were established to ensure safety of women. The new system raises questions of women safety. As the police are not around, most people refuse to give away the seats to women even when it is reserved.
The Railways opted for this new change following shortage of coaches. The `Ladies Only' coaches were removed from the trains using new generation LHB (Linke-Hofmann-Busch) coaches.
Earlier, a part of the SLR (seating-cum-luggage rack) coaches which has parcel van facility was kept aside for women. Such coaches have been withdrawn. The new LHB coaches doesn’t include SLR facility. Rather, they have generator and guard room.
If the women need to be provided with special coach, then an LHB compartment would have to be completely kept aside for this purpose. There are not enough coaches for this. And the railway is not ready to keep aside more than half a compartment for women.
Special coach not practical
The railway officials said that it is not practical to enable a special coach for women in trains. Actions to identify the reserved section for women in the general compartment will be taken. Proper security will be enabled for women.