The Railway authorities have hit upon another novel idea to increase earnings without hiking fares -- naming prominent trains after popular product brands and displaying their advertisements on them.
Many big companies are said to be keen on the idea and willing to shell out huge amounts of money in return for the publicity their products will get across the country through long distance trains sporting their brands.
Under the proposal , besides displaying the brand name of the company product on the exterior of the train, it will also be advertised on specified spaces or items within the coaches.
The experiment has proved immensely successful in the South Western Railway where trains have been given such names after Pepsi products as ‘Blue Billion Express’ and ‘Mast Kurkure Express’.
Now, the Railway Ministry is preparing to extend the scheme
across the country and expects to rake in nearabout Rs 800 crore from the move, according to a senior official.
All the 16 railway zones were asked to recommend a few trains that could be used for displaying brands.Over 60 trains have been identified for the purpose and bids will be invited from interested companies by May-end or June.
After bringing about a turnaround in the financial health of the erstwhile loss-making Indian Railways, Minister incharge Lalu Prasad is now said to be keen that its profits be enhanced further than the Rs 20,000 crore surplus achieved in 2006-07.For this , the mandarins at the Railway Ministry are looking at a wide variety of possibilities for getting funds from the private sector by way of joint ventures and partnerships.