Soon, ads on your Railway tickets

Cashing in on the computerised ticketing system, the Western Railway will start printing advertisements on suburban rail tickets to generate more revenue. “We earn Rs 2 crore every day through ticket sales, of which we earn Rs 1.6 crore through unreserved ticketing system (UTS). So, we plan to
earn more by printing advertisements behind tickets,” said a senior Western Railway (WR) official, on condition of anonymity.

Every day nearly 5.5 lakh tickets are sold through the 667 UTS windows on the western suburban line, which comprises 90% of the total ticket sales. Around 35,000 season tickets are sold every day on the same system.

“We will print advertisements behind daily and the season tickets sold through UTS. The plan will be later extended to automated ticket vending machines and coupon validating machines,” said S Chandrayan, chief PRO, WR.

Senior WR officials are examining the proposal and after it is finalised, they will call for tenders.

The selected private contractor will have to provide the UTS thermal paper with advertisements printed on it. The thermal paper is used at ticket counters across all railway stations in the city.

Not to be left behind, the Central Railway (CR) has allowed advertisements on their foot overbridges and platforms.

“We have placed advertisements on an experimental basis at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Dadar and Ghatkopar among several other stations,” said S Mudgerikar, chief PRO of Central Railway.

The CR expects to earn at least Rs 1 crore a month if all stations are covered. At these stations, the CR has allotted advertisement space on two staircases each with rates as low as Rs 15 per sqft.

Last month, the CR had allowed yellow stripes to be pasted along the edges of the platforms as an advertising gimmick for a television reality show.

WR Guards to check rooftop travel

Western Railway Guards are a miffed bunch after they have been given an additional job responsibility — to clear local train rooftops of travellers. Following an increase in reports of deaths due to electrocution, the Western Railway (WR) administration took the decision to ensure commuter safety.

The Guards have been instructed to ensure that train rooftops are clear and trains run as per schedule. Railway staff at various stations have also been asked to make efforts to dissuade commuters from travelling dangerously, and make sure violators get off the train.

Says a WR Guard, “Now we are expected to leave our core duty and look out for commuters on rooftops. If something goes wrong, Guards will be held responsible.” Guards claim that in most cases, offenders are agile enough to run on the roof to evade being being caught. This is when they fall or get electrocuted.

“We will oppose the decision if the administration forces Guards to take responsibility for offenders who travel on rooftops,” said DY Mahale, of the Western Railway Employees Union.

Western Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Sharat Chandrayan said, “The Guards are not responsible for offenders travelling on rooftops. They have merely been instructed to dissuade such behaviour.”

The numbers
Last year, the WR registered cases against 2,134 commuters for travelling on rooftops of trains in the suburban section alone. 731 of these were sent to jail.

Rail tests out male stewards before hostesses

Air hostesses, be prepared for competition from Earth.

If everything works out according to plan, train passengers could soon be pampered with some “comforts of an aeroplane” — including hot meals served on trolleys pushed by rail hostesses.

“We are trying to match up to the air-travel experience by improving the quality of services,” a railway official said.

The plan to introduce hostesses on trains took shape after the Indian Railways, the lead sponsor of the Commonwealth Games, experimented with food trolleys when it played host to athletes and officials from participating nations on trips to the Taj Mahal.

The two-hour journey on the Taj Commonwealth Express, from Delhi’s Safdarjung station to Agra, saw male attendants in black sherwanis and red turbans serve a mix of Indian and western fare.

Sources said the trolley service had got the thumbs-up from the athletes and the officials and the railways now planned to introduce it with hostess on select Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

“The safety and security of the rail hostess will be uppermost when they are introduced in a phased manner on short-distance luxury trains and select prestigious trains. They will be deployed on those trains where the trolley service will be introduced,” said an official. “The idea is to offer all the comforts of an aeroplane and make the train journey a memorable experience.”

Kenyan John Eriku Kelai, who won the men’s marathon gold, said the hospitality on the Taj Commonwealth Express was “superb”. “The food on board the train was good, clean and neatly packed.”

Malaysian athletes Nor Iryani and Azim Azami said it was a “wonderful trip” that added “spice” to the Games.

Jamaican athlete Jomovcy Arummy Victoria was “mesmerised” by the Taj and thanked the railways for arranging the trip. “I have seen ancient buildings in Greece and the Great Wall of China. At the Commonwealth Games 2010, my dream to see the Taj came true.”

The railways ran the express — a brand new train vinyl-wrapped in Commonwealth colours on the outside — under an arrangement with the Games organising committee. Beginning October 6, the train made eight trips and carried 2,928 athletes and officials from the participating nations. With a seating arrangement of three chairs on one side and two on the other, the food trolley had enough space to move.

“We have received proposals to continue the train as a commercial venture, especially for foreign tourists. We are thinking of taking up the proposal with the railway board,” said Northern Railway chief commercial manager P.K. Goel.

Have a tune? Namma Metro might just be interested

BANGALORE: Create a signature tune for Namma Metro and win a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh from the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., (BMRCL).

The commercial launch of Metro operations is scheduled for December.

BMRCL has invited entries from the public as well as companies for the creation of signature tunes for its exclusive use on-location, studio, outdoor and indoor, corporate assignments as well as for editorial applications, interviews and presentations.

Each participant may provide up to four signature tunes with eight-track recording. The tunes should not exceed four seconds and should preferably be in MP3 audio format.

Entries may be submitted to the Chief Public Relations Officer, BMRCL, 3rd floor, BMTC Complex, K.H. Road, Shanthinagar, Bangalore-560027, or email

Log on to for details.

Human-train strikes a chord

Mather’s India chief Piyush Pandey, the veteran of many iconic campaigns, including Vodafone’s Zoozoo and Fevicol, felt a little caught out when the Indian Railways got in touch with him sometime in the middle of September.

The demand was straightforward: to produce the first ever television commercial for the Indian Railways for broadcasting during the 2010 Commonwealth Games [ Images ].

The only problem, however, was that commercials had to be ideated, executed and delivered in just over two weeks. And all of this for less than Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million).

But as it appears, the commercial has made the best of all constraints, to become one of the most watched on YouTube.

The TVC, just about a week-old, has got more than 45,000 views.

Quite a number — Idea’s Walk When You Talk TVC, which is about a year-old has 34,354 views while the first 3G commercial from Tata DoCoMo got 1,500 views over the past two days.

“The brief was very simple. The Indian Railways is the nerve centre of the country; it is part of the Commonwealth Games; and it touches everyone in the country,” says Pandey.

“It is possibly the biggest brand. It employs more people than any other organisation, and generates so many transactions,” Pandey explains.

The Indian Railways, after all, is among the largest such networks in the world with over 64,015 route km, a daily ridership of 18 million passengers on 17,000 trains and more than a million employees on its rolls. But it had never aired a commercial of its own.

Railway officials wanted to emphasise on the human aspect of the organisation. Luckily for them, Ogilvy already had an idea waiting.

Sukesh Nayak and Heeral Akhaury of the agency had come up with the concept while working on another brief.

“But that was meant for another, much smaller project. Thank god that project never happened. Every idea has its destiny,” adds Pandey.

And destiny meant that Pandey would have to put together a human train of 50-odd people chugging around the backstreets and old buildings of Kolkata [ Images ] to the tune of Ashok Kumar’s popular yesteryear number — Rail Gaadi.

The advertisement reflects the joy of the journey, one that brings a country together, represented by the human-train travelling through diverse settings within a neighbourhood.

At the end of the reel, the Hindi TVC’s catch line reads Desh Ka Mel — Bhartiya Rail, while that of the English version says: “Magic of India — Indian Railways”.


For Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder of TapRoot India, the commercial focuses on the strengths of an organisation that is often at the receiving end of public perceptions.

“The advertisement has used a simple device that connects with people. Somehow, it makes you feel good about the Railways, and you forget about the negative part of it,” explains Padhi.

But did the Indian Railways require such a TVC, considering it is effectively a monopoly within the country, and most of those who use the service will continue to do so regardless?

“It is important for government agencies, and public sector undertakings to be doing such advertisements as their public impression is very, very low,” says advertising industry veteran Alyque Padamsee [ Images ].


The Railways, though, had very little time in which to complete the entire project.

Yet, it is the quality of the result that makes this TVC stand out amongst a number of other deadening commercials, mostly of other public-sector undertakings (PSU), aired during the CWG broadcasts.

“As the lead partner for the CWG, we were given about Rs 15 crore worth of free airtime, which we decided to utilise. But since the games itself had run into rough weather, we were waiting for things to shape up. At the end of August, the CWG told us to hand over the advertisements at the earliest, and that is when we got to work,” says a Railway official.

The Indian Railways, subsequently, started the process of ideating and getting approvals. Eventually, the official added, they were only left with the last 10 days of September to actually produce the commercial.

“The project was executed on a single tender, as we had so little time, and we decided to give it to the best guys in the industry,” the official explains, adding that the TVC cost under Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million).

“We were called in pretty late in the day, but we jumped at it because the Railways’ is a huge brand. This ad is about the fun of the Railways because everyone has done this (human train) at some point.

“It is about the joy of the Railways which connects India,” explains Sneha Iype of Nirvana Films, the production house which executed the film which was shot in Kolkata over just two days.

What next?

But Railway officials are unsure whether this set of commercials will evolve into a full-fledged campaign across mediums. After all, the entity is a PSU.

Ogilvy’s Pandey, unsurprisingly, is gunning for more.

“I believe everything you start is a one-off,” he said, referring to the beginnings of the award-winning Fevicol campaign ‘The Rail advertisement can be a trendsetter for PSUs. It shows that the receiver matters more than the giver.’

Without doubt, the impish human-train commercial is a consummate first for the Indian Railways, but could it force other state-owned firms to revisit their human side?

Metro to weave a ring around Delhi

Delhi’s transport department wants the city to be connected in a ring through the Metro network in the third phase of the construction plans. It has recommended changes to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal that had earlier been cleared by the Delhi cabinet.

The new lines will intersect stations that are a short-distance apart.
The department feels that the changes, based on a study by the government agency RITES, would help ease traffic on the city’s congested roads. The department’s recommendations carry weight as it bears a quarter of the cost of construction. Another quarter is borne by the central government, while the remaining funds are arranged through loans and other resources, according to official sources.

The budget for the third phase, sanctioned by the state cabinet, is Rs 21,468 crore. The transport department is currently in charge of developing an extensive project report for the new corridors.

The report will have to be submitted to the state government. While the DMRC plan has 15 points where passengers can change over to another line, the transport department’s plan has 25. The six corridors proposed for phase III will cover an area of 70 km, including a 39 km underground stretch. The transport department’s plan is to bring the outer parts of the city within the Metro network.

It’s recommendations include extending the Mukundpur-Rajouri Garden line to Dhaula Kuan and connecting the Dilshad Garden and Anand Vihar stations. It also wants the Central Secretariat-Red Fort corridor to end at ITO, reducing costs by Rs 1,288 crore.

“Dilshad Garden is only a couple of kilometres away from Anand Vihar, but there By Kumar Vikram in New Delhi Metro to weave a ring around Delhi is no direct connectivity between the two stations. Anyone wanting to commute between the two has to travel via the Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate connectors, increasing the distance several fold,” said a transport department official.

The cost of construction for the line is estimated to be Rs 761 crore. The department has rejected the proposed Malviya Nagar-Kalindi Kunj corridor, saying it will have few takers. It has also objected to the Ashoka Park -Delhi Gate corridor as it is parallel to another Metro line. Plans for the stretch have been shifted to Phase IV.

Other proposed corridors include the Outer Ring Road line covering Noida Sector 18, Okhla, Janak Puri and Transport Nagar.

The proposed lines

* Anand Vihar- Dhaula Kuan

Stations: Anand Vihar, IP Extn north, I P Extn south, Daulatpur, Trilokpuri south, Trilokpuri north, Mayur Vihar, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Ashram, Srinivaspuri, Lajpat Nagar, South Extn, Safdarjung Hospital, Bikaji Kama Place, Moti Bagh, Dhaula Kuan.

* Jahangirpuri-Badli

Stations: Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Badli.

* Mukundpur-Rajouri Garden

Stations: Mukundpur, Azadpur, Shalimar Bagh, Netaji Subhash Place, Shakurpur, Shivaji Park, ESI Hospital, Rajouri Garden.

* Ashoka Park-Delhi gate

Stations: Ashoka Park, Anand parbat, Sarai Rohilla, Karol Bagh north, M M Marg, Paharganj, New Delhi, Ramlila Ground, Lal Quila.

* Malviya Nagar- Kalindi Kunj

Stations: Malviya Nagar, Saket District centre, Pushp Vihar, G. K. West, G K East, Tughlaqabad Extn, Okhla Phase II, Jasola, Jasola Vihar, Kalindi Kunj.

* Central secretariat-Lal Quila

Stations: Firozshah Crossing, Mandi House Crossing, ITO Crossing, Delhi Gate, Daryaganj, Lal Quila.

South Western railway to install windmill

he South Western Railway Zone has decided to install 10.5 MW capacity windmill at a cost of Rs.65 crores to be self-reliant in availing power, informed the Chief Electrical Engineer of the Zone V K Tempe here today.

Participating in a seminar on Control of Carbon at Zonal Office, he said this would facilitate the Zone to save power. He said that during the last year, the Zone could save 21.11 million units of power. Now the Zonal office has decided to save minimum of 40 million of units of power during the coming days.

He said this achievement was possible due to use of CFL bulbs everywhere. The Zone has installed 28,720 CFL bulbs all over zonal area and by March end another 8400 CFL bulbs would be installed.

The Zone has also decided to introduce 32000 T- 5 slim tubes in all railway stations and out of them, already 14,126 tubes have been provided. LED bulbs have been provided in 62 places and in three places chargeable batteries have been provided. Solar light in 208 railway level crossings would be provided and already emergency solar lights have been provided in 103 places, he said.

The General Manager of South-Western Railway Zone, Mr Kuldeep Chaturvedi, suggested use of effective measures to control emission from chimneys and called for valuable suggestions to eradicate any pilferage of power and save it.

— (UNI) — 21MS72.xml

Double-decker AC trains from Howrah

Eastern Railway (ER) is likely to run a fully air-conditioned double-decker rake between Howrah and Dhanbad soon.

The first fully AC double-decker rake rolled out of the Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, on Sunday and was expected to reach Howrah in the next few days.

“A single double-decker coach has reached Kolkata station. However, this will not be used by us. The train that we propose to use will have a different colour scheme. We have still not fixed a date when the train will start running. It may be flagged off in the next few days,” a senior ER official said.

The rake has 10 coaches (including two power cars). The stainless steel coaches have been designed to cater to high-density corridors where the railways is planning to introduce affordable AC travel.

The coaches can run at a top speed of 160 km per hour. Their carrying capacity is 128 passengers (conventional coaches carry 78). RCF, in association with Research Designs and Standards Organisation, Lucknow, finalised the design of these coaches and rolled out the first prototype within nine months on March 31, 2010.

“There is no need to make any major alteration in overhead equipment or permanent structures. The double-decker coaches are only 116 mm higher than conventional coaches. The coaches have features like aesthetically pleasing stainless-steel bodies, air-spring suspensions and a number of safety-related features. The chairs have been provided in a face-to-face format to ensure that passengers travelling in groups can enjoy the ride. The upholstery is fire-retardant,” the official said.

Once the rake becomes popular between Howrah and Dhanbad, the railways will run more such trains along short distances. They can’t be run beyond a 500-km stretch as there are no sleeper facilities on board.

The fare structure will also be reviewed. It is possible that AC trips between Howrah and Dhanbad will get cheaper once the rake becomes operational.

Many years ago, ER used to attach non-AC double-decker coaches to the Howrah-Dhanbad Black Diamond Express. This practice was discontinued after passengers who got seats in the upper decks complained of discomfort. Officials believe that there will be no such problems with the AC coaches.

Info on International Union of Railways Conference (UIC)

A two day UIC (International Union of Railways) Conference on Security Challenges and High Speed Development was inaugurated on Wednesday, 20/10/2010 by Shri Vivek Sahai, Chairman, Railway Board, Ministry of Railways in Mumbai. About 150 delegates from all over the world including countries like Japan, France, Germany, Spain, United States and China, etc., are participating in this conference.

In his keynote address, Shri Vivek Sahai said that the High Speed should be tailor made for India. He emphasized that High Speed trains should cater to the needs of the Indian cities. He said that it can be very useful for our country if it is customized to Indian environment. Mr. Sahai further suggested out that the metro transport can be classified into three groups, i.e. upto 500kms, 500-1500kms and above 1500kms. Emphasizing on the large volume of passengers served by the Indian Railways, Mr. Sahai urged the experts and representatives that High Speed developments should take care of lower Income group passengers. Envisaging the future growth, Shri Sahai said that urbanization of India will be over 40% by 2020 resulting in expansion of large number of cities. Therefore, there will be greater need of High Speed Metro transport. He said that such projects should be funded jointly by the private partners, State and Central Governments.

Talking about security challenges, Shri Sahai said that security arrangements should be non-intrusive, especially at stations where the volume of passengers is very large. He also mentioned the Raman effect, invented by famous Indian Noble Laureate, Dr. C. V. Raman for using molecular signature for explosives/ contraband.

Earlier, welcoming the guests, Shri R. N. Verma, General Manager, Western Railway emphasized the need of connecting satellite cities so that the land rent and population pressure in Metros like Mumbai can be distributed evenly. He also emphasized the need to have High Speed and secure travel for the historic and vibrant city of Mumbai. He said that High Speed trains will be preferable/ viable compared to the other modes of transport like Highways or air travel if we incorporate social, economic and environmental benefits. He stated that High Speed Models should be economical for the benefit of all categories of passengers. Shri Verma emphasized on having fullproof and guaranteed security solutions as Metros like Mumbai are vulnerable to terror attacks.

Mr. Jean Pierre Loubinox, Director General of UIC also addressed the inaugural session while Mr. Jacques Colliard, Head of Security Division of UIC and Mr. Inaki Barron, Director of Passengers and High Speed Departments of UIC brought out the seminar outline.

The opening Session was followed by four sessions in which eminent experts from USA, India, China, France, Spain, Korea, etc., made presentations. Among them Shri S. K. Jain, Chief Administration Officer (Construction), Western Railway made presentation on Upgradation of Speeds in Indian Railways. Shri K. K. Atal, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Western Railway made presentation on Rolling stock issues for High Speed Railways. Shri Anoop Shrivastava, Inspector General, Railway Police Force and Shri B. Mohan, Chief Security Commissioner, Indian Railways also made presentation on Security Principles and various related issues.