The Indian Railways has introduced e-bedroll, a paid service where train passengers can book the bedsheet top, bedsheet bottom, pillow and a fabric pack for their journey at Chennai and Trivandrum Central Railway Stations, reports The Hindu. Passengers can book this up to 5 hours in advance and will be allowed to take their online booked bedroll home as well. Its not clear if all the trains from these stations will have this facility.
Passengers can book either of the two packages: The first package costs Rs 140 and offers a bedsheet top, bedsheet bottom, pillow and fabric pack (possibly a pouch in which the bedroll is stored), while the second package costs Rs 110 and offers a travel blanket and a fabric pack. Those who book online will be provided with the bedroll on their seat/berth. Apparently, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) outlets will also sell bedrolls from 6AM to 10PM and users can also call 1323 (toll free) to enquire about it.
Bedrolls for all: The e-bedroll service was launched on a pilot basis at Thiruvananthapuram Central, Chennai and Bangalore railway stations, although the IRCTC website only lists Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram. It will be extended to more stations, based on the feedback it receives. E-bedroll was planned for a launch in December, when it was supposed to roll out on a trial basis at New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Mumbai Central. Bedrolls were provided only in AC classes of trains and this facility would make them available even for sleeper classes.
Limitation on tickets: Late last month, the Railway Ministry announced that from 15 February 2016, individual users would be able to book only 6 train tickets online per month on the IRCTC website. Before this, individual users could book a maximum of 10 tickets per month.
Food tie ups: The IRCTC has been tying up with multiple food delivery companies to let users order food while on the go, as well at train stations. Last month, it tied up with TravelKhana, who it had incidentally sued last month for copyright infringement; and Hello Curry in November, Foodpanda in the same month, and earlier in 2015 with Pizza Hut and KFC and Jubilant Foodworks.
Online ticketing revenue: In November, we reported that the 18 year old IRCTC generated Rs 20,620 crore (~ $3.08 billion) in online ticketing with a profit after tax of Rs 130 crore ($19.5 million) from March 2014- March 2015. This was up 34% from 2014, when its revenue was Rs 15,410 crore ($2.3 billion), and a profit of Rs 72 crore ($10.8 million).
Our IRCTC coverage here.