Rail passengers can look forward to on board infotainment services and enhanced safety with Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee giving the green signal for a GPS-based project.
The Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (Simran), which went through some exhaustive trials could also reduce accidents at unmanned level crossings, besides avoiding collision.
The project, which uses a satellite imaging software along with the global positioning system, was developed as part of the Railway Safety Technology Mission to provide correct train information to passengers.
A train locator unit installed in a train identifies its latitudinal and longitudinal values and speed by receiving information through GPS satellites, Railway sources familiar with the project said.
LCD screen installed within coaches will inform passengers about speed, current location, next destination, outside temperature etc, thanks to the real time tracking mechanism, sources said, adding actual train position would also be displayed in station's enquiry display board.
Display board inside coaches can also be used for entertainment as well as for selective advertisement, which can be an avenue for revenue generation by Railways, sources said.
The Sam Pitroda-led expert committee on ICT has also favoured implementation of the project, which could prove to be a boon for efficient freight handling. Pitroda is expected to hold further deliberation on its implementation in the first week of September.
The Railway Minister, on Friday, said in Parliament that the project would be implemented within the next two years.
Sources, however, said several details are yet to be worked out to make the project fool-proof amid apprehensions that it could be misused by subversive elements.
Several players including IIT Kanpur, RDSO and Kolkata-based Impex Infotech are actively involved in the project, with the Railway planning to implement it through PPP mode.
Field trial was conducted in several trains, including Rajdhani Express (Mumbai, Howrah, and Patna), Shatabdi Express (Bhopal, Amritsar, and Lucknow), Duranto Express (New Delhi-Sealdah), Gomti Express (Lucknow-New Delhi) and Puspak Express (Lucknow-Mumbai).