Indian Railways to roll out aircraft-type bio-vacuum toilets

Smelly and non-functional toilets on Indian Railways will soon become a thing of the past. The national transporter intends to roll out 100 coaches that will be equipped with imported bio-vacuum toilets- that are on level with ones in aeroplanes. The first 100 coaches with the new toilets will be attached to major trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi and would be rolled out from January 2018. As per an official, “These bio-vacuum toilets will be odour-free and cut down water usage by over one-20th.”

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Due to poor services and upkeep, the present bio-toilets have been obtaining a number of complaints. With lack of timely maintenance, these toilets often end up with a sickening stench and are jam-packed with human waste.

“To start with, Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will roll out 100 coach sets fitted with bio-vacuum toilets starting January 2018. Initially, these toilets will be fitted in AC-I and AC-II tier coaches of select trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto,” said a senior Railway ministry official.

A regular toilet devours 10 to 15 litres of water per flush, but the vacuum toilet will only consume 500 ml of water for each flush. “A bio-vacuum toilet has a suction pump that sucks waste without need for much water to flush it. This will also help in containing the foul smell as bio-digesters will eat up the waste,” the official added.

As the fittings are being imported, the cost of vacuum toilets is higher. Although railway authorities have collaborated with manufacturers to finally set up engineering units in India to meet the needs.