Railways to launch 1st gold standard train today

The railways will showcase its first `Swarn' train on Monday. The New Delhi-Kathgodam Shatabdi Express will be the first to be launched as part of the railways' `Swarn' project which aims to renovate India's premium trains, including Rajdhanis and Shatabdis.

From new on-board entertainment to trolley service for catering, new coach interiors and clean toilets with automatic doors, these elite trains are being upgraded at a cost of Rs.50 lakh per train. Security systems will also be enhanced by installing CCTVs and deputing more RPF personnel. Punctuality of these trains has also been identified as a focus area.

Around 30 trains -15 Rajdhanis and 15 Shatabdis -will get a complete overhaul at a cost of Rs.25 crore under `Swarn' project launched during the tenure of Suresh Prabhu as railway minister. While planning a complete makeover of the Kathgodam Shatabdi, Northern Railways focused on three key areas -aesthetics, hygiene and entertainment.

Coach interiors have been redone with vibrant vinyl wrapping and the compartment aisle has been marked with fluorescent strips for guidance of travellers. Anti-graffiti coating has been done on the exteriors. With a focus on hygiene, toilets have been upgraded with additional features such as dustbins and personal seat covers. Automatic odour and hygiene control systems have also been installed in all coaches.

Disposable headrest covers have been provided for executive class while all coaches will have integrated Braille signages. Passengers will now be able to enjoy HD streaming of entertainment through Wi-fi hotspots with a range of movies, cartoons and government programmes such as PM's `Mann ki Baat' on offer. Shatabdi and Rajdhani have faced criticism for deteriorating service standards and punctuality issues and `Swarn' was launched to address these issues and bring the quality and service of these trains to levels similar to the newly launched Tejas Express and Humsafar Express.

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