New Delhi: So much have happened since the proposed rail fare hike in the rail budget 2012-13. The political drama burst on the scene following the rail fare hike and in its aftermath, the Railway Minister has been changed and the new incumbent ordered to rollback the proposed rail fare hike.

The decision on rail fare hike was taken keeping in view up gradation of the Indian Railway. It was reasoned that to improve the Indian Railway on the parameter of safety and modernisation, more funds was required.  

Now despite the rollback of proposed rail fare hike, Indian Railway has embarked on its plan for modernisation. With a view to facilitate hassle-free passenger boarding, Railways have decided to introduce a slew of measures including setting up of executive lounges and installation of escalators at 50 major railway stations.
Like airport lounge, the executive lounge, a first in Railways, will have facilities like seating arrangement, food and beverage, wheel chairs for senior citizens and the handicapped.
"The executive lounges will come at stations like New Delhi, Howrah, Mumbai and Bangalore to provide value added service at a charge offering concierge services by trained staff for pre-departure and post-arrival assistance to passengers," a senior Railway Ministry official said.
The lounge will also have Wi-Fi facility, business centre with fax, laptop facility, locker facility and washroom.
Railways have allocated Rs 1,102 crore for 2012-13 to improve passengers amenities services.
"We will also be installing 321 escalators at important stations to facilitate easy movement of passengers in the next five years. The installation of 50 escalators will be commissioned during this year," he said.
In order to improve the hygienic condition, Railways plans to commission 6 more mechanised laundries to provide clean bedsheets, pillow covers and towels during the train journey. Currently, 12 mechanised laundries are functioning. An approximate 2.5 lakh bedrolls are required daily for trains in the country.
"With the operationalisation of mechanised laundries, it will be easier for Railways to provide clean and steam washed bedrolls to passengers," the official said.