The Indian Railways has decided to allow advertising on nearly 300 major trains, including Rajdhanis and Shatabdis, to get more revenue, according to senior officials.
Advertising and brand promotion has, so far, been limited to certain special trains like the ones that are introduced during festivals.
For the first time the railways is considering the scheme for regular trains. The ministry has decided to centralise the sale of advertising rights.
This new advertisement scheme is expected to bring in a yearly revenue of well over Rs 1,000 crore if the policy is extended to most of the 8,800 trains.
An official of the Railway Board said the move follows the success of the Kurkure Express and PepsiCo’s Blue Billion Express special trains in south India.
According to sources, all regular inter-city mail and express trains will have colour advertisements painted on the exterior of coaches.
While vinyl sheets can be put up across the length of the coaches, panels could be fitted on the interiors.
The railways are also considering exclusive advertisement rights to a company for an entire train.
Besides, brand names and logos can also be displayed on the destination signboards on each coach as well as on the front and rear ones.
Even the uniforms of the onboard railway staff and linen used by passengers can have logos and advertisements printed on them.
A second proposal of providing onboard infotainment channels on trains like the Shatabdi Express is doing the rounds.
Plasma TV screens would be put up in the compartments where advertisements would be allowed, said a railway spokesperson.
Bulk advertising rights for 25 to 50 trains in different rail zones would be granted to individual firms or consortiums at a reserve price varying between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 1 crore per train for a year.
However, bidding on advertising rights could lead to more revenues from “high-profile” trains like the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express.
“We also have over 8,000 big and small railway stations whose ad potential has not been optimally utilised. There are enormous possibilities here, not only for the railways, but also for the advertising industry and corporate sector,” the official said.