Under the all-new Operation ‘Swarn’, Indian Railways has introduced the first train ever to be upgraded to ‘Gold standards’. The New Delhi-Kathgodam Shatabdi Express has been upgraded by the Northern Railways on at least 10 parameters at the cost of Rs 50 lakh. Three dimensions; aesthetics, hygiene and entertainment have been kept in mind. The icing on the cake for railway passengers is that all these new features come with no revision in fares!
While the exterior has been given a vinyl wrapping which is graffiti proof, the interiors have been upgraded with better aesthetics and passenger comfort measures such as attendant calling facilities and reading lights. A new infotainment ‘Magic Box’ facility allows you to enjoy HD streaming of movies on your personal devices. Seeking to address a big pain point of passengers, the toilets have been made modular and will be cleaned every two hours during the train journey! Not only that, the train’s toilets now come equipped with a central locking system. This means that passengers will be able to use the toilets only 5 minutes after the train starts running. According to Railways, one long-standing complaint of passengers is that toilets are dirty as soon as the train starts. “We realised that a lot of unauthorised people, who will not be travelling on the train, use toilets once the train comes on the platform. To avoid misuse, the toilets will be kept locked and only opened once the train leaves from the station,” a senior railway official told FE Online.
We take a look at some noteworthy changes that have been made on the Shatabdi Express under Operation ‘Swarn’:
1. Interiors with vinyl graffiti-proof wrappings in the doorways, gangways and luggage rack panels
2. Compartment aisle marked with fluorescent strips. Attendant calling facility and reading lights.
3. New anti-abrasion permanent coating for polished look of flooring
4. ‘Magic Box’ infotainment system: Enjoy HD streaming of movies, cartoon movies, Mann Ki Baat and e-magazines through Wifi hotspot on your smartphones, tablets and laptops!
5. An anti-graffiti vinyl coating on the exterior.
6. Toilets have been upgraded with dustbins, odour control system and a scrapper matting to avoid dirty water from spilling over to the main train area. As mentioned above, the toilets boast of a central locking system and will also be cleaned every two hours, with passengers being asked by staff to check after every cleaning.
7. The coaches boast of automatic odour and hygiene control systems. The Executive class coaches will come equipped with disposable head-rest covers.
8. All coaches have integrated braille signages for the convenience of visually challenged passengers.
9. The capacity of the food shelves has also been enhanced to maintain better hygiene. There are plans to improve catering services as well
10. Eventually, Northern Railways plans to provide CCTV and GPS-based passenger information system in all coaches.
Northern Railways plans to upgrade all the Rajdhani Express trains and Shatabdi trains under it to ‘Gold Standard’ by June 2018.