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Tamil Nadu Express gets Braille signage on Sleeper Coaches

To help visually challenged passengers, second class reserved coaches of the Chennai-New Delhi Tamil Nadu Express now feature Braille signage.

Southern Ratilway - Braille signage on Sleeper Coaches

Chennai: To help visually challenged passengers, second class reserved coaches of the Chennai-New Delhi Tamil Nadu Express now feature Braille signage.

This is a first-of-its-kind gesture by Southern Railway. All the 13 three-tier second class coaches in each of the four rakes of Tamil Nadu Express (totally 52 coaches) have now been fixed with these Braille signage, Southern Railway officials told.

Braille signage on coaches was announced during the Railway Budget of 2013-14, officials said.

The signage on Tamil Nadu Express has been fixed on all the four coach entry points and also near the berths.“Visually challenged passengers can touch the signs and locate their berth number without anybody’s help,” officials said. In addition, Braille signage indicating the location of alarm chains and emergency windows has also been fixed. The signage was fixed at the Train Care Centre, Basin Bridge, last month during regular maintenance of the rakes.

The cost of installing the pre-printed signage, issued by suppliers from New Delhi and authorised by Research Designs and Standards Organisation, Lucknow, works out to about Rs.14,000 per coach.

Reservation Charts: While welcoming this as a fine initiative, M. Nagarajan, president, College Students and Graduate Association of the Blind, said the railway administration should make arrangements to have Braille-enabled reservation charts of at least visually challenged passengers as this detail was more important. Further, there should be a signage to indicate the coach numbers too, he said. Officials said that one coach of the New Delhi-Puri (Odisha) Purushottam Express was visually challenged friendly and more recently, the coaches of Mysuru-Varanasi Express had Braille signage on all its coaches.

Railways to empower porters with behavioural skills

Passengers arriving major railway stations in Southern Railway may soon have a pleasant experience dealing with licensed porters.

In a bid to fine-tune the passenger-porter interface, the railways has decided to empower the latter with behavioural skills. Complains of fleecing and rude behaviour will become a thing of the past if the customised training module that the authorities plan to impart goes well among the porters.

If training goes well, complaints of fleecing will be a thing of the past

According to railway sources, the objective of the programme is to ensure that the porters behave with passengers in a courteous manner, ensure safety of their baggage and charge as per rules for the services rendered. The initiative follows Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s announcement in the budget that porters would be called ‘sahayaks’ and imparted training on soft skills. In a circular sent on Thursday, the Railway Board directed that the training programme to porters should be completed by September, 2016. Officials of the Commercial Department have been told to prepare a list of Dos and Don’ts to be displayed in the waiting hall of porters and make sure that they strictly adhered to the guidelines while interacting and delivering their services to passengers.

The initiative is expected to improve the relationship between passengers and porters

“Training has been planned at the division-level and we may consider roping in expertise from external agencies for the programme. A licensed porter greeting passengers at railway stations with a broad smile will enliven the ambience…it is just a feel good factor. Rate cards will be displayed at all platforms to avoid any kind of bargaining,” a railway official said.

Surprise Checks: Senior officials would conduct surprise checks to assess the effectiveness of the training and get feedback of passengers, the sources said, and added that a makeover of the traditional red uniform and trolleys to lessen the burden of carrying baggage was in the pipeline. They have been asked to walk along with passengers and not run with the baggage.