The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power-packed rail travel

Patna, May 31: The next time you travel by train, remember to pack your lap-top and your electric shaver. The chances are that you may be able to get an internet connection and freshen up for that important meeting before you reach your destination.

The Indian Railways is all set to introduce coaches on the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express from next month that will be equipped with sockets to power your lap-top, charge the battery of your mobile phone and run shavers.

Railway officials, however, are loathe to talk about the safety aspect of the power connections, especially after recent fire mishaps on trains. The power-socket facility is likely to be offered on other routes by the year-end with internet connections.

These coaches will also be equipped with hot water bathrooms and a special loo that is designed to bio-degrade human waste once the train runs at a speed of 40 kilometres an hour.

A railway official said, “This is the same technology that is used in airlines. It will keep stations clean. It has been successfully used in other countries and will be available in India soon.”

In a move to bring back passengers who have drifted to the Apex fare of airlines, the railways will embark on a major revamp of its coaches with more value-added services and safety aspects. However, the railway officials were not willing to comment about fire and other safety measures that will be incorporated in these coaches.

According to a senior Railway Board member, “There has not been a major impact on our business due to the Apex fares. We have more passengers than we can accommodate even in the higher classes who are alleged to have moved to airlines. We will soon provide them with more facilities than the airlines for increased comfort level and to continue their business even on travel.”

“We are examining the fire safety aspects in coaches. It is not that we have closed our eyes to such issues, but there are no immediate replacements of coaches that we plan to undertake exclusively for fire safety. The new coaches meet the international fire safety norms,” the official added.

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