NEW DELHI, July 24: Passengers can soon tune in to popular FM
radio stations while travelling on trains, with the Indian Railway firming up
plans to roll out a Rail Radio service for 'onboard infotainment' which would
also come in handy in emergency situations and disasters.
The state-run public transporter plans to introduce the facility on about 1000
Mail and Express trains, including premier services.
Passengers will not only be treated to popular songs and music over the public
address (PA) system in coaches, but also be updated on train-related information
on hourly basis. The system will be used to issue alerts in case of an
emergency, according to the plan.
Besides jokes, astrology and other trivia, the history of Indian Railway and
its major activities will also be part of the Rail Radio service.
We are in the process of finalising arrangements with a few leading FM radio
stations to provide entertainment as well as information to passengers onboard
about 1000 Mail and Express trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto,
said a senior Railway Ministry official.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had in his 2016-17 budget speech proposed to
invite FM radio stations for providing train-borne entertainment through public
address systems on trains. Currently only Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi trains
are equipped with PA system.
"Once Rail Radio service is operationalised, all these premier trains will
be linked with the system," he said.
As per the plan, studios will be set up at Railway Board and all zonal
headquarters to operationalise Rail Radio service.
Rail Radio service will be helpful during emergency situations like accidents
or a natural calamity, the official said.
"It will be easier to reach out to passengers during emergency through PA
system from the headquarters," said the official, adding "there will
be a slot for educating and creating awareness among passengers on disaster
With a view to enhancing passenger comfort, a move has been initiated by the
Railways to introduce new amenities including ergonomic seating, improved
asthetics, water level indicators and easily accessible dustbins in coaches.
The public sector giant also plans to make available the bilingual onboard
magazine Rail Bandhu in all Mail and Express trains. Currently the magazine is
available only in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto trains. There is also a plan
to publish Rail Bandhu in regional languages, the official said.