New Delhi: The first ever air conditioned double-decker train is likely to be launched shortly on the Howrah-Dhanbad route as it has obtained all necessary clearances from the Chief Commissioner Railway Safety (CCRS) after successful trial runs.

"The problems encountered during trial runs like coaches touching the edge of the platform have been sorted out and the Howrah-Dhanbad AC double-decker train with eight coaches would be flagged off soon," said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The train will have complete sitting accommodation with each coach having a capacity of 128 passengers as compared to 78 passengers in Shatabdi chair cars, thus increasing the sitting space by almost 70 per cent.

Though the AC double-decker coaches are designed to run between 130 km and 160 km per hour, CCRS clearance has been given to run the train between 100 km and 110 km per hour.

While the width of normal coach is 3,245 MM, AC double- decker coach has 3,135 MM width.

 "The kinetic profile of double-decker coaches were infringing upon certain platforms during the initial trial runs. That is why those platforms were being modified on Howrah-Dhanbad route," he said.

The official added that railways conducted successful trial runs after the modification of platforms and space for the two decks has been generated by optimally using the well space between the two bogies.

The fare structure and timings of the first AC double-decker train are being worked out, he said. After the train is launched on the Howrah-Dhanbad route, the next AC double-decker train will run on the Delhi-Jaipur line as an inter-city service.

However, the width of the double-decker coaches for the Delhi-Jaipur route has been reduced to 3,050 MM as against the 3,135 MM width of the coaches running from Howrah to Dhanbad.

The coaches, being manufactured at the Kapurthala factory, boast of many superior features like aesthetically pleasing stainless steel body, high-speed design bogies with air springs for superior ride quality and many other safety-related features.

The coaches are fitted with control discharge toilet system. End-On-Generation configuration where power for train lighting and air-conditioning is supplied by two power cars, will be attached at both ends of the train.

An AC double-decker coach is estimated to cost about Rs 2.5 crore, the official said.

"There is also a mini-pantry car equipped with water cooler and other facilities to provide tea, coffee, cold drinks, soup and ice-creams to passengers," the official said.