150 years old Indian Railways is considered the fourth largest railway network and commercial/utility employer among the world’s leading organizations. It employs 1.4 million people and provides transport system to 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. Although the numbers speak highly of it, the railway service in India has a vexing factor that only those 30 million daily commuters can relate to. For some obscure reasons the trains are late except occasionally showing up in time. CRIS(Centre for Railway Information Systems), an umbrella organisation, is responsible for all the computer related activities dedicated towards Indian Railways’ proper functioning. It has several systems for ticket booking, freight info etc to answer the user queries online.
CRIS, for long, had a system named NTES(National Train Enquiry System) in place to put the information about trains online so that people can know about train’s current location or how late it is running. Users needed to call a toll-free number to access the desired information. However, the new online service from NTES coined Train Enquiry, powered by Railyatri.in, needs you to search trains by name, number, destination and alike. Once you have selected the train properly it will show you the current status of the train. You can also use the web-based mobile app to do the same. The information is acceptably accurate and the results are shown quite promptly.
As mentioned earlier, before this service was introduced, travelers had to rely on a 24X7 toll free number “139” to get updates about the trains they are willing to know about. The automated service was tardy in response and often failed to deliver as promised. The latest alternative on the other hand delivers the result under 20 seconds and provides additional info like the next stations and ETA at that station.
On a concluding note, I would like to state that, in contrast to those dull-looking and oft-crashing government web portals this one is thankfully appealing design-wise and functions quite well too. As it may seem the presence of Railyatri might have a say in that. The service serves perfectly in a way it publicizes, and hopefully we will need much of it unless we have a train service that runs on time.