The Indian Railways is considering a proposal to generate revenue through advertisement on walls along the tracks on high-speed corridors, sources have said, amid a push by the national transporter to boost its non-fare earnings.
In talks with contractors, who can deliverer pre-fabricated walls, the railways plans to generate revenue through advertisement to recover the cost of the build. The sources said the idea is to share revenue with contractors, thus enabling the railways to get the walls built at minimum cost.
“With the plan for the Delhi-Mumbai high-speed corridor underway, the need for such walls is imperative for issues of safety. We are mulling the option of generating revenue from them through advertisement as they are high density areas and will get maximum exposure. Pilot projects are already underway and we are hoping to put up walls across the network starting with urban areas,” said one of the sources.
The railways is trying to boost non-fare revenue through right-of-way charges, advertising, land monetisation, catering and parking amid intense competition from airlines and road transport to carry passengers and goods. Not just revenue, the wall will also help the railways maintain safety on tracks, get rid of encroachers, reduce interference with cattle or other disturbances.
Officials in the ministry also said that various options are being assessed such as a proposal to build sound-proof walls to reduce sound pollution in areas with railway tracks. A pilot project implemented in the South Delhi area around a busy railway track has shown that such walls reduce sound of approaching trains by around 20 decibels.
The walls to be built around 7-8 feet high will have the option of selling space both outside and inside portions of the wall. The building of these walls is the first step towards converting the Delhi-Mumbai corridor into a high-speed zone, and track changes allowing express trains to run at a maximum speed of 160km per hour.