December 1, 2011 2:59:38 am
Come January and passengers aboard Shatabdi trains can sit back and watch their favourite television shows while travelling. The Railways is planning to introduce individual LCD TV screens for every passenger on these trains. Nine Shatabdi trains to destinations such as Ludhiana,Amritsar,Kalka,Kanpur,Bhopal,Ajmer and Dehradun will be fitted with the facility soon.
Separate 7-inch LCD screens with earphones are being installed on the rear of every seat,a facility that has so far been offered only by high-end airlines. Having completed a successful pilot project on the Kalka Shatabdi,the Northern Railway is now extending it to nine other trains.
Divisional Railway Manager,Northern Railway Ashwani Lohani said,The pilot project was successful and we are in the process of extending the facility to a few other Shatabdi trains as well. The first batch of TV screens will be installed by January and all nine trains will get them latest by March. If the project goes well,we will explore the possibility of extending it to other trains too. Each train will have 800 to 1,000 such screens.
Officials said this will be a free-of-cost facility for which even the Railways will not have to make any investments. Tenders for the onboard television facility have already been finalised for nine rakes of Shatabdi headed to seven destinations. Kalka and Amritsar Shatabdi will have two rakes each with this facility while the other five will have one each.
Lohani said the Railways has worked out a revenue model that takes the burden of installing the facility away from the Railways. It is a win-win situation for everyone the Railways,the passengers and also the contractor. The contractor will be permitted to air advertisements up to a maximum of 20 per cent of the trains running time and the passengers will be able to access DTH services for the remaining duration of journey, Lohani said.
We will get one per cent of ad revenue from the two contractors who have been finalised for the project,which will amount to approximately Rs 1.5 crore a year. The two agencies will be given the contract for a minimum period of five years.
Passengers can avail the facility when the trains ready for departure at the platform and up to 20 minutes before the train reaches the final destination. As a value addition,the contractors will also be able to offer taxi and hotel rooms service to passengers.
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