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Indian Railways Launches Wi-Fi on Howrah Rajdhani Express as Pilot

Indian_Railway_logo2The Indian Railways has launched a pilot project to provide Wi-Fi facility on Howrah Rajdhani Express (as announced in February 2011). This service can be accessed by passengers, free of cost, and a 4Mbps download and 512 kbps upload connection will be available on both Howrah and Delhi routes.

Indian Railways plans to expand this service on other Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto express trains based on customer feedback received during the pilot. The duration of the pilot project is not clear. The cost of installing this service on all three rakes of Howrah Rajdhani Express is estimated to be Rs 6. 30 crores.

How can Passengers Access the Wi-Fi: To access the Wi-Fi, passengers will have to register by providing the PNR and other details like mobile number on the Indian Railways Wi-Fi Network. On validation of the data, the log in ID and password will be sent as SMS to the registered mobile number. The log in ID and password will remain valid for the entire journey.

Technology for Internet on Moving Train: To provide constant connectivity during travel, the Indian Railways is using satellite communication link from a satellite hub. The satellite antenna is placed in one of the two power cars of the train. This is linked through Wi-Fi radios provided outside each coach. The radio signal is then picked up by the indoor access points inside each coach enabling passengers to access internet during their journey.

Previous Developments

The proposal to provide Wi-Fi on Rajdhani was made in February 2011. The official announcement for the launch of the service was made in March 2012 stating that this service will go live by September 2012. Earlier, pilots to provide Wi-Fi have also been implemented on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express and Chennai- Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express, both in 2009. The Railway Budget 2013 again announced the launch of Wi-Fi service on trains during this course of this year.  The other announcements made in the Railway Budget 2013 with respect to digital include real time train tracking for passengers, SMS service for passengers to check reservation status, SMS/Voice/email service for passengers to intimate on board train staff about cleanliness of their train, among others. Most of these services have been proposed in earlier budgets as well. The Indian Railways launched their train tracking app, Rail Radar in October 2012.

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