Airlines, watch out. Railway terminals at New Delhi, Mumbai (Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus), Kolkata, and Chennai may soon look like airports, complete with separate arrival and departure lounges, shopping malls, and a high-tech electronic queue management system for passengers.
Rail Bhawan officials said the railways plan to construct additional floors at these railway stations, which will be leased out to companies to run mini-theatres, shopping malls, restaurants and food plazas.
"We want passengers to have an enjoyable time while they wait for trains," an official said.
The detailed plan to convert these four stations into mega-terminals is expected to be put up before the Railway Board soon.
It also involves building a huge "holding space" next to the parking at each of these stations, which will function as a waiting hall, with an electronic system through which passengers will be informed of a train's arrival.
"This will regulate the traffic of passengers on platforms as only passengers whose trains are to arrive will be allowed to leave the waiting room; as happens at an airport," the official said.
This will also help streamline security and ticket check at the stations.
If these mega-terminals are a success, the Indian Railways could think of setting up a chain of them, especially in other large cities where railway stations are increasingly losing out to airports.