The forthcoming semi-high-speed Tejas Express trains may not have LCD screens, as the Indian Railways’ experience with Tejas trains that already have such screens has been bitter. “The railways is considering that perhaps there is no need for LCD screens in Tejas coaches. People anyway carry their mobile phones and laptops, and if they are given Wi-Fi they can access the internet for entertainment,” said a ministry of railway official, requesting not to be named. The air-conditioned train from Mumbai to Goa that made its first run on May 24 this year was vandalised by passengers. The infotainment screen in front of each seat is pre-loaded with movies and songs, apart from other sources of entertainment, for passengers to provide an airline-like experience. But the screens were scratched and damaged during the very first trip, which prompted the railways to re-look into the amenities provided.
“The existing coaches of the Tejas have screens but the coaches to be produced from now on may not have them,” added the official. The hi-tech train also provided earphones to each passenger during travel, but passengers carried them along after the first trip of the train. The cost of each earphone provided then was Rs 200 but after continuous theft, the railways degraded the quality of the earphones and the current ones cost Rs 30 apiece.
In light of this experience, the railways is also considering not providing entertainment screens in the yet-to-be-launched Uday double-decker sitting coaches; only Wi-Fi facility would be available for passengers. “Uday rakes may also not have entertainment screens as planned earlier and the railways is thinking in that direction, though this has not been finalised. Uday coaches are still under production,” said the railway official. The Tejas has the potential to run at 200 km per hour. The rakes have features such as automatic entrance doors, GPS, fire and smoke detection systems, sealed vestibules and CCTVs, among others, to provide commuters world-class service.