Railways' Mothers' Day special 'baby berths' draw flak due to design flaws

The Indian Railways has, on Mothers' Day, introduced foldable "baby berths" with the aim of making train journey more comfortable for women passengers travelling with infants. The railways has fitted foldable "baby berths" on the side of lower main berths of the Lucknow Mail as part of a pilot project. However, the project has invited criticism from netizens to “an apparent design flaw”.

The "baby berth", which are hinged to the lower main berths, are supposed to be folded and secured with a stopper when not in use. The added tiny berths however have small railings on their sides, which offer very little protection. The netizens claim that the railing is way too big and might pose the risk of infants from rolling off the edge through it. They point out that the seat should have been placed on the wall-side of the berth to prevent the risk of babies falling off it.

Launching the project, Railway officials had said the final design of the berth will be an improved one – probably covered on both sides and with padding on railings.

On the AC-3 coach of Lucknow Mail, two "baby berths" of 770 mm in length, 255 mm in width and 76.2 mm in height were fitted to berth number 12 and 60 of the second cabins on both ends of coaches on April 27.

"This has been done on a trial basis and will be expanded once we get positive feedback from passengers. Once we try it out more and record the feedbacks, we will put the necessary details on CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) where it can be booked on request," an official of the Northern Railway said.

"The (booking) system will be like the one we currently use to offer senior citizens lower berths. So, once, a passenger says yes to travelling with a child, we will offer the berth to them. However, it is now at a nascent stage," the official said.

Currently, there is no mechanism to book the lower berth for women who are travelling with infants. Sources indicated that once this facility is expanded and commercialised, ladies using it would have to pay a higher fare for the service.

The railways now charges the full fare for a child of five to 12 years. Earlier it was 50 per cent of the fare.


The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.