Railway virtual tour

In collaboration with tech giant Google, the Indian Railways has undertaken a crowd-sourcing workout to create a digital repository of its abundant heritage. By this project Railways is working to provide a free virtual tour for passengers.

In a pilot task, Google Cultural Institute has actually deployed or released 6 video clips at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Station in Mumbai showcasing the national carrier’s rich background and heritage -with much of the web content crowd-sourced.

“A virtual visit will never replace the real thing. But technology can help open up art and culture to everyone, and we think that’s the powerful thing,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

There will certainly be more such screens at various other terminals to expose passengers to the Railway’s past, said the authorities.

The Indian Railways began collecting unusual photos through its unique crowd-sourcing effort.  It entered into a contract with the Google Cultural Institute to digitise and display these pieces of history on electronic systems and to help create a digital repository for Global and free Universal online access.

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Various institutes of the federal government and other ministries have already collaborated and worked together with the Google Cultural Institute for displaying and showing India’s cultural heritage digitally. Indian Railways has a massive list of heritage assets consisting of heavy steam locos, artefacts, bridges, and also galleries which could be showcased for a global audience.

It currently has 34 galleries, heritage parks and heritage galleries across India. It has also additionally maintained about 230 heavy steam locomotives, 110 vintage coaches and also wagons at prominent locations. Also, it has a large database of built heritage, consisting of 25 bridges and 70 buildings.

“Once these are placed online, it will act as a great tourist attraction,” the official said.The Indian Railways invests Rs.250 crores annually to keep and manage the heritage properties.

“We are seeking private players’ participation to help preserve rail heritage assets – like SBI Foundation is doing at CSTM,” the official added. Google is also providing free Wi-Fi service at 100 stations, as part of the Digital India-Digital Rail campaign.

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