Passengers travelling on the Indian Railways’ network may soon be able to walk into WH Smith stores at the stations to buy items such newspapers, over-the-counter medicines and artifacts, among others, as the UK-based retail store operator has shown interest to participate in the relevant tender process. “The retail operator may be opening stores at least the A1 stations,” said a senior railway ministry official requesting not to be named.
In the railway parlance, non-suburban stations which gross more than R50 crore annually from passenger revenue are categorized as A1. The national transporter has 408 nations in the A1/A category.
WH Smith stores in India are operated by Travel News Services India (TNSI) and there are at least 80 operational stores across the country including Delhi, Cochin and Hyderabad airports apart from stations under the Delhi Metro, among others. An email sent to TNSI remained unanswered.
“The multipurpose stores will add to the convenience of passengers as they will not have to rush to different stalls to buy travel essentials,” said the official quoted above, adding it will be especially helpful for passengers at stations where trains halt for few minutes. The national carrier has already floated a draft multipurpose stall policy for comments and suggestions by stakeholders. Read more