Indian Railways is working on a slew of steps to enhance passenger experience during travel while ensuring higher safety, security and better hygiene. The northern railway has been entrusted with the task of launching most of these new initiatives on its trains, to be followed by other 15 zones. The first such exercise that is bound to be appreciated by travellers is the introduction of WiFi hotspots in express trains by January, a railway official told Moneycontrol.
“All express trains will carry WiFi hotspot while all 64 trains under the northern railway will carry the national flag at the entrance on one side of the coach and swachhta logo on the other side,” the official said.
So far, India’s biggest transporter has been on a huge drive to have Google-powered WiFi hotspots at railway stations. Launched in 2015, Google offers free high-speed public WiFi at 400 railways stations in India. Railways’ attention has now turned to WiFi inside running trains.
Similarly for the first time, two east-bound night trains will have CCTVs (closed circuit TV cameras) installed in them. “So far, CCTVs have been installed in only a couple of day-time trains. Lichhvi Express and Seemanchal Express will now have CCTVs installed in them,” the official said.
The official said the railways has now embarked on a massive overhaul of its coaches. The national transporter has launched various schemes under different names to upgrade the coaches that look better from both inside and outside. Not only will the coaches sport different colours, depending on the category of the train, but they will also now have better toilets, more modern seating and amenities.
“We are now going for ‘gold standard’ trains. We are upgrading the interior. Toilets are also being upgraded with vinyl and colourful designs and new taps,” he said.
There are two other schemes also the railways has launched — both focused on coaches. One is called ‘Utkrisht’ (meaning excellent). Under this scheme, old coaches will be coloured beige/brown and get new toilets.
A scheme called ‘Train 18’ will roll out self-propelled 160 kmph trains — a high-speed distinction that only Delhi-Jhansi Gatimaan Express boasts of.
“This Train 18 project will roll out even better trains than Gatimaan which has a locomotive. We are now talking of self-propelled train sets where there will be no engine. The Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi will be first train to get this set,” the official said, adding this launch is likely to happen next month.