Indian Railways are going to adopt the concept of vacuum for the first time and it has taken the first step by launching a trial run in in Dibrugarh Rajdhani from today, 14 September.
Fitted in the First AC coach at an estimated cost of about Rs 3 lakh, the vacuum toilet is also equipped with the bio-digester system. Vacuum toilets are currently operational in aircraft.
According to the plan, railways will initially install 80 such toilets on a Shatabdi Express train, the official said. Indian Railway has floated global tenders for installing the toilets at a cost of Rs 25 crore and multinational companies from Germany, USA, Denmark and Spain have evinced interest in manufacturing and installing the system, the official said.
The environment-friendly vacuum-based toilets consume much less water than conventional ones despite improved efficiency of the flush, aiding water conservation efforts.
Besides, such toilets would also help prevent corrosion of rail tracks. A vacuum toilet will also be installed at New Delhi station.
Currently, premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi are equipped with controlled discharge toilet system which prevent disposal of waste at stations. "Waste is automatically discharged after trains gather a minimum speed of 30 km per hour," the official said.
So far, railways have replaced 17,388 conventional toilets with bio-toilets. About 17,000 more are to be replaced by the end of this year.