Soon, Indian Railways passengers on premium trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express will be able to watch movies, listen to music on the go with the help of WiFi hotspots! Indian Railways is looking to up the entertainment quotient on trains with the help of WiFi hotspot devices that will allow passengers to play pre-loaded content on their smartphones, laptops and tablets. Financial Express Online has learnt that the new project will be implemented in Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and Gatimaan Express trains to begin with. “This project of installing WiFi hotspots in premium trains will roll out soon and tenders will be floated. All zonal railways will coordinate with the chosen vendors for the implementation which should begin this year itself,” a railway ministry official told FE Online.
According to the official, the project is an extension of the experiment that was done on the upgraded New Delhi Kathgodam Shatabdi Express train last year under Operation Swarn. “So, passengers will be allowed to connect to the WiFi hotspots and stream from pre-loaded content. This would include movies, songs, serials, maybe even news etc depending on what each zonal railways decides on,” the official told FE Online. The final contours of the project will be decided by the commercial department which is hoping to earn revenue from this initiative, the official added.
The premium Tejas Express train is being considered for the project as well since the move to provide personalised entertainment screens has left a bitter taste for Indian Railways! Within days of being launched, the personalised LCD screens on Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express were damaged by passengers and headphones were stolen. “Indian Railways can’t keep bearing the cost of repair and headphones and hence a decision was taken by the Railway Board that all future Tejas Express trains will not have personalised screens,” the official said.
Will passengers have to pay to enjoy this service? That’s not been decided yet, the railway official said. “The commercial department wants to earn revenue from this WiFi hotspot project, so either passengers will be asked to pay for the facility, or the vendor will integrate advertisements in the content and will share the revenue with railways,” the official explained.