Staying connected to your favourite social networking site on a train journey could soon become a reality if the Railways have their way.
As part the drive to offer new infotainment solutions, the PSU behemoth is exploring the possibility of providing access to a passenger’s e-mail or twitter account, shopping channel or an auction site through a touch-screen based computer unit.
The Research Design and Standards Organisation is understood to be working on the technology, the idea of which was originally floated by an expert committee of the Railways.
“Several infotainment-based proposals have been mooted by the Passenger Amenities Committee. Offering access to the internet for social networking sites was one of them and the Railway Ministry is studying it,” said a source in the Railways.
The service could be available in flagship trains like Shatabdi Express with shorter daytime journey, having mostly business-class passengers.
“The computer units could be placed behind the seats much like what we have in aircraft, which could also double up as a movie screen,” the source said.
“So, in addition to twitting or accessing your Facebook or Orkut account, you could also have the choice of placing your order for lunch or dinner over computer.
“All the while, you could also log on to on-train freight capacity auction site — helping businessmen bid for parcel and freight wagon capacity in real time,” the source said.
The suggestion of the Passenger Amenities Committee for internet access on board train comes as Railways are already examining a pilot project to offer internet connections in some premier trains.
Railways will shortly introduce in-house magazine in important trains as part its infotainment solution package, even as a couple of trains in Central Railways have on board movie viewing facility.
The source said the new offer could find support among all age groups especially those travelling without laptops.
“Social networking sites are a craze these days and the expert committee sought to bring them to passengers so that they can be productively engaged during journey,” the source said.