Shatabdi is the heart of Indian railways

One of the best ways to see India is to undertake a train journey, and the Shatabdi Express – the heart of Indian railways – is one such rail network that offers one of the best options for domestic travellers, says travel guide book Lonely Planet.

After enabling curious Indian travellers to experience the world via outbound travel guides specifically designed for Indian travellers last year, Lonely Planet is exploring the domestic Indian market with its new series of ‘pocket travel guides’.

The first in the series of pocket books titled, “Holidays by Shatabdi” was recently launched in the capital as a guide to destinations easily reachable by Shatabdi from Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai being next in the series.

“After the launch of our Lonely Planet for the Indian Traveller series last year and Short Escapes travel guides series in March 2013, we decided to tap those tourists who use the services of Shatabdi Express to travel to destinations in the sub-continent,” says Sesh Sheshadri, General Manager, Lonely Planet India.

“Shatabdi Express being one of the most popular trains in this genre was first on our mind when we decided to come out with a guide for train travellers.’Holidays by Shatabdi’ enables travellers to make the most of their trips by visiting destinations near the city. The first in the series is for travellers who board Shatabdi from Delhi,” he added.

Also on the agenda are a set of books that can take the cinema loving tourist to places inside the country that have a Bollywood connection.

“The ‘Bollywood Escape’ series will focus on places which are known for some bollywood connection, be it a shooting spot for any movie or something other,” Sheshadri told PTI.

According to him, whenever we think about luxury travelling from Indian railways the international tourists zero down on options like Deccan Queen, Maharaja Express or Palace on wheels.

“But we cannot ignore the domestic travellers for whom Shatabdi can also be an option for luxury and comfortable travelling, ” he said adding, “the domestic market is much bigger considering the number of Indian rail travellers every year and hence our effort is to provide the travellers, the benefit of travelling with authentic information.

The guide being pocket size is a quick read for anyone on the go and enables travellers to make the most of their time by exploring destinations close to Delhi. The travel guide lists all the must see tourist destinations with comprehensive details about places to stay, food, and shopping.

Priced at Rs. 140 each, the guide also features value-for-money suggestions for travellers along with expert travel tips and advice. It gives a detailed picture of fun filled activities for all interests and age groups.

Compiled by a team of five travel writers including Juhi Saklani, Karuna Ezara Parikh, Parvati Sharma, Puneetinder Kaur Sindhu and Sarah Islam, the guides are produced in full colour and packed with photographs to inspire the readers to pack up their bags and board Shatabdi.

Tour packs selling to pep adult Shatabdi

For those looking for brief escapes from a Capital, northern railways’ Shatabdi Express could shortly be a many gentle option.

The Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is formulation new affordable tourism packages around Shatabdi routes and railways is going to start on house selling on a trains soon.

A ride guide, Holidays by Shatabdi, published by Lonely Planet, was denounced by Anurag Kumar Sachan, local railway manager, Northern Railway, on Monday.

The beam book would yield extensive sum and tips on 30 trips from Delhi that can be done by Shatabdi express.

This includes destinations along a Shatabdi routes starting from Delhi to Kathgodam, Dehradun, Kalka, Amritsar, Ajmer and Bhopal.

The ride beam elucidates a sights, fun activities, accommodation, eating options during these destinations, detached from Shatabdi’s time report and ride options to and from a sight stations.

“We had started a commander plan on on-board selling for a month and now it’s going to turn a unchanging underline on all Shatabdis,” pronounced Sachan.

Sanjay Kumar Jain, organisation ubiquitous manager, IRCTC, pronounced there are packages accessible formed on Shatabdi routes. “The packages take caring of all from ride to accommodation and food. Tourists wouldn’t have to worry about reservations also,” he said.

“The series of domestic ride by Indians is most aloft than travelling abroad. That is because we wanted to move a Lonely Planet knowledge to sight travellers,” pronounced Sesh Sheshadri, ubiquitous manager, Lonely Planet India.

“Shatabdi creates brief trips and this book focuses on such brief trips from a capital. We would come out with identical beam books for other cities as well,” Sheshadri said.

Published in: on May 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways to take passengers on a musical journey

A musical journey awaits passengers of premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi with Railways deciding to play classical sound tracks in coaches.

Instrumental music played by maestros like Ustad Bismillah Khan, TN Rajaratnam Pillai and Pandit Pannalal Ghosh will keep passengers entertained in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains which have a public announcement system in place.

Railways have sourced the music from the All India Radio library.

“We have sourced certain selected instrumental and Carnatic music from the All India Radio library. The AIR has permitted us to play the music in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Besides shehnai tracks by Ustad Bismillah Khan and sarod of Ustad Alluddin Khan, the offering includes rare raags on violin by Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, Nagaswaram of TN Rajaratnam Pillai and flute by TR Mahalingam and Pandit Pannalal Ghosh among others.

Other artists whose music will entertain train passengers include tabla by Ustad Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa, Dhrupad by Dagar brothers, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee on sitar, Radhika Mohan Maitra and Sharan Rani on sarod.

The ministry has given instruction to zonal railways that while playing the music, the region through which the train passes should be kept in mind.

Railways are also taking a number of initiatives for on-board entertainment of passengers.

“We are in the process of providing live TV facility in Shatabdis originating from New Delhi,” said the official.

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Infotainment package on Shatabdi tracks

Union Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa on Tuesday launched the infotainment service called ”Go TV.”

As part of the service, each coach of the express train is fitted with two LCD screens. The aim of the service is to upgrade travel experience of passengers by offering real time information and entertainment in transit. “Since these coaches are fitted with GPS tracking system, information about the approaching station in the path of the train will also be available for passengers on board,” Muniyappa told reporters.

The infotainment facility will be extended soon to other trains including the Bangalore City – Chennai – Bangalore City Lalbagh/Bangalore Express (12608/12609 ); Bangalore City – Chennai – Bangalore City Bangalore /Lalbagh Express (12610/12607) and the Bangalore City – Hubli – Bangalore City Jan Shatabdi Express (12079/12080).

South Western Railway (SWR) has tied up with Tranz Vision Digital Media Private Limited for the “Go TV” infotainment service, to provide the facility.

SWR Divisional Railway Manager Sudhanshu Mani said for Shatabdi Express, a total of 20 customised 26-inch LCD screens were installed in the coaches, two in each coach. Apart from entertainment, the system would also deliver pre-recorded rail-related information, emergency alerts, arrival and departure time of trains, courtesy messages and social messages, he added.

As per the contract, “Go TV” channel would have its broadcast schedule divided into slots of one hour each (15 minutes for rail-related information and 45 minutes slot for infotainment and advertisement distributed evenly). Content of infotainment is divided into categories such as kids, wildlife, yoga, health, comedy, celebrity interviews, movie clips, documentaries, infomercials etc.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, “Go TV” Director Sunil Ravindranath said they are also planning to introduce news as part of the infotainment package on trains. “However, such a package won’t be real time information but “Go TV” server on each train will be loaded with news items with half an hour delay and the same is showcased during the transit,” he said. The content will be a mixture of Kannada, Tamil, English and Hindi.

Sumptuous meals on trains

Commuters can expect to have a sumptuous meal while travelling by some of the important trains as the Western Railway has drawn up plans to serve a range of mouth-watering dishes.

A few weeks ago, WR took over the management of kitchens from the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation after the ministry received complaints about the quality of food. The meals are being provided by the WR in Rajdhani Express, August Kranti Express, Rajdhani Spl Express and Shatabdi Express.

Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR, said, “Our aim is to increase the variety as well as nutritional value of the food being served on these trains.” Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare is served on these trains.

Accessing Internet from Train will soon be Reality

Staying connected while travelling on train may soon be a reality. The Passenger Amenities Committee of Indian railways is mulling over various solutions for infotainment on board, amongst which is a touch-screen based computer unit that would allow you to access social networking sites, shopping sites etc. It is not yet clear whether this would be a pure browser based access to WWW or a customized solution for specific apps.

The service could be available in flagship trains like Shatabdi Express with shorter daytime journey, having mostly business-class passengers. The computer units could be placed behind the seats much like what we have in aircraft, which could also double up as a movie screen. -source

The touch screen would also allow you to order your meals and access on-train freight capacity auction site in real time. Research Design and Standards Organisation is working on this and a few more things so expect a lot more from Indian Railways in coming days.

Rlys plan to install CCTVs in super fast trains

PATNA: The railways are planning to install close circuit cameras (CCTVs) in all the super fast trains running across the country to further tighten up security on running trains.

It follows repeated attacks on railway property and passenger trains, said a Railway Board official. According to him, the railways have decided to install first CCTV in the premier Shatabdi Express and Rajdhani Express trains. The railways will then introduce this system in all super fast trains for security reasons. The new system will also help railway security personnel to keep a tab on the activities of terrorists, particularly at vulnerable places, he said.

According to sources, the railways intend to manufacture new coaches fitted with secret cameras to maintain a close surveillance on the passengers’ activities. Besides, it will keep a tab on those smoking on running trains. Since the railways have completely banned smoking either on running trains or on railway platforms, the CCTV would help the railways to check any nuisance in coaches on running trains, sources said. Under the new plan, the railways intend to install master computers at different places in various zones to monitor a strict surveillance through CCTV on running trains. The railway vigilance staff are working hard to prepare a foolproof security system on running trains, the board official said.

Though there is no time limit, the railways are very keen to implement this project within six months in all super fast trains running across the country. Keeping in mind the fact that new railway minister Mamata Banerjee is very serious about providing security and safety to passengers on running trains, the railways have prepared a foolproof security plan which will be placed before her soon, the board official said.

That apart, the railways are likely to introduce a new system in the Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains under which doors would remain locked throughout the journey. In any emergency, passengers could press the button provided in coaches after which a security staff would be available for their assistance, sources said. According to an East Central Railway (ECR) official, the railways have so far installed CCTVs at platforms.

Talking to TOI, divisional railway manager (DRM), Delhi division, B D Garg said that it was a long awaited proposal of the railways. The Delhi division is yet to get any directive from the board in this connection, he said.

Travel in style on Shatabdi exp

CHENNAI: The Southern Railway is all set to redefine luxury and passenger comfort in Shatabdi through introducing LHB German design coaches. Very soon the Chennai-Bangalore- Mysore Shatabadi will don a new look with these coaches.

“The LHB coaches, compared to the current air-conditioned sleeper or chair car rakes, are more comfortable with new amenities,” said an official with the southern railway. “This new generation passenger coaches focus on passenger comfort, safety and operation and life cycle costs. These coaches will be longer but lighter and will be maintenance friendly. It also has an aesthetic appeal,” added the official.

The sophisticated LHB coaches — named after three engineers Linke, Hoffman and Bosch are developed at Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, in association with Germany’s Alstom Group.

Though the southern railway has not yet officially announced the date of introducing the new coaches, highly placed officials clarified that it would be inducted into the service of the southern railway in a month’s time.

It is pointed out that the facilities in the train include an improved ride comfort-ride index reduced to 2.5 at 160 km per hour. Anti drumming feature and sound insulation giving a good noise reduction; functional toilets, which allow easy and good cleaning; optimised design of pantry with functional trolley.

It also has comfortable seats with infinitely adjustable back seats; windows of big sizes allowing good visibility with functional roller blinds; luggage racks of modern design with integrated lamps for all seats.

To ensure safety in the LHB coaches have modern design of vestibule for inter car connection; anti-climbing feature to prevent climbing off during collision; improved brake system with wheel slide protection; use of fire code for materials following state-of- art practices; four emergency windows are provided per coach; increased coach length to provide extra carrying capacity (AC chair car carries 78 passengers against 67 in existing design); coach weight reduced through design innovations for lower hauling costs (AC chair car weight brought down by around 5 tonne); ease of manufacture by suitable material selection and design; anti-corrosive materials to give better corrosion protection; toilets designed for discharge at predetermined speeds to help station cleanliness; improved availability through longer intervals between maintenance schedules; enhanced maintenance friendliness through easy accessibility and exchangeability of wearing parts; entrance doors flush with side wall allowing automatic car washing, functional switch board cabinet centrally located and easily accessible electrical equipment; closed roof mounted air conditioning units eliminating incidence of water dripping into the coach; glued PVC floor which allows no floor damage through water seepage; the coaches have been provided with Tight Lock Center Buffer couplers and shall be culpable with AAR type coupler fitted on locomotives.,+travel+in+style+on+Shatabdi+exp&artid=mdJdX584ohM=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&SEO=LHB+German+design+coaches&SectionName=rSY%7C6QYp3kQ=

Surf Net, watch songs aboard trains in India

Vadodara Karnavati Express to have LCDs, Wi-Fi connectivity, others may follow soon

There is some good news for those travelling by train. The Western Railway is planning to put up LCDs on the Karnavati Express under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The pilot project will be initiated in five AC chair coaches of the train where advertisers will place nearly 28 LCD screens at pre-decided locations. The coaches will also have Wi-Fi enabled Internet connectivity onboard.

Once successful, the model will be replicated in other trains as well.

Western Railway had earlier announced that it will install LCDs in local trains in Mumbai. This was to make people aware about what is happening around the world.

The system will consist of individual LCD screens with individual headphones using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology. The system will be introduced by providing individual LCD screens or hand-held devices. This is part of the IT upgradation plan of Indian Railways. The hand-held computer system, which is being run in a few Shatabdi Express trains on a pilot basis, is expected to be replicated in other trains.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Vadodara, D K Chachondia, said: “The project for putting up LCDs is very much in the process. But I cannot give more details, as the Mumbai region is handling the project. They will maintain it.”

Earlier, the railways had started a pilot project to computerise on-board passenger interface operations with the help of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). At present, the Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs) are doing it manually. This was done in the Ahmedabad-Mumbai Shatabdi Express with GPRS provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.