Come January 2012, and you can catch your favourite TV programme on board the Shatabdi train, and that too for free.
After a successful trial run in the Kalka-bound Shatabdi, the Delhi division of Northern Railways is all set to install individual TV screens at the back of seats in nine trains. The facility will be free of cost.
“We’ll be providing DTH TV service in nine Shatabdi trains and hope to start the service by January next year. All general entertainment, news, sports, English and Hindi movies channels will be available on the train,” said Ashwani Lohani, divisional railway manager (Delhi), Northern Railways.
The trains in which TV sets would be installed include Amritsar Shatabdi, Kalka Shatabdi, Lucknow Shatabdi, Ludhiana Shatabdi, Bhopal Shatabdi, Ajmer Shatabdi and Dehradun Shatabdi.
Around 9,000 7-inch LCD TV screens will be installed in both executive and chair cars of these trains. Two agencies have been shortlisted for implementing and managing the project on a five-year contract.
“The service operators will also be providing value-added services like hotel and cab booking to the travellers,” added Lohani.
Of the air time, 75% will be dedicated to the entertainment/news content and 25% for ad spots by the service provider. The revenue from these ads will be shared between railways and the service provider.
“Without spending a penny, we’ll be earning Rs 1.5 crore annually from ad revenue and passengers will get to watch TV for free on the go. TV sets will be installed and maintained by the agencies,” said a railway officer.
“Once this project succeeds, we’ll replicate it in other trains including the Rajdhanis. Trial run for common TV sets in one of the Janshatabdi trains is on. We’ll be following another model for the Rajdhanis,” the officer added.