Indian Railways is all set to launch its first-ever print publication on April 16, marking the occasion of Rail Diwas. Titled Rail Bandhu, this magazine will be a monthly, and will be launched in the premium trains of Northern Railways. In the pilot run, the title will be distributed free of cost to the passengers of trains such as the Shatabdi and the Rajdhani Express.
Talking to afaqs! about the project, Derek O'Brien, head of the magazine project, says, "Its USP will lie in the fact that it will be India's first magazine for train passengers. It will be a very engaging read for travellers who can afford air-conditioned trains."
On an average, the general interest magazine will have 100 pages, including content and advertisements. The content mix of the inaugural issue would include a story on how Rabindranath Tagore lost and found the manuscript of Geetanjali in one of the London tubes, saloon car recipes from the British era and a story by Ruskin Bond. The first issue of the magazine will also feature the family members of the Railways employees, who were medal winners at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
Rail Bandhu will be an all-colour magazine and will only be available in a select group of trains. The content mix of the title will include news, railway events and features, along with stories that promote tourism in the country. The business model of this magazine will be similar to that followed by in-flight magazines. All costs will be borne by the publishers.
The editorial board of the magazine comprises artist Shuvaprasanna and key Railways personnel, apart from O'Brien.