Soon, you may get to experience “In-Flight Entertainment” like services plus internet on your very own Indian Railways. As a part of their new drive to offer infotainment solutions to passengers, the Indian Railways is looking at various ways in which it could provide passengers with the ability to check their e-mail, twitter, Facebook or may be do business while on the move. The Indian Railways has already been taking steps in that direction by opening up the Indian Railways Data API and introducing other services as VSAT connectivity.
For the initial launch, the Railways is planning to restrict the services to flagship trains like Shatabdi Express which generally have shorter daytime journey and the passengers are mostly businessmen or office executives. The organisation which is currently researching and working on the technology has the following plans so as to how the entire system would be like:
Since the initial target is Chair car based trains like the Shatabdi Express where passengers can only sit, the computer units could be placed behind the seats much like the in-flight entertainment systems we have in an aircraft. The computer unit which will be probably a touch-screen will be used by passengers to open up and browse the various websites. The screen also doubles up as a movie station.
In addition to twitting or accessing Facebook or Orkut accounts, Passengers could also look at the possibility of placing orders for lunch or dinner over the computer at a restaurant located at the destination. This is something proposed by the railways, but as my experience tells me, you are already provided with ample snacks and food inside the Shatabdi express so why would any passenger think of taking reservations at restaurants.