Panicking in a dense fog at Odhaniya Chacha, an unfamiliar station in Rajasthan, and unable to get any response from a gawky officials at a half-open information counter? Try the Indian Railways’ new offering: Rail Radar.
With an interactive Google map, this new software, designed by the railway ministry’s IT wing Centre for Railway Information Systems, is a live tracker of all passenger train traffic in real time and was launched just before winter set in.
“Map your trains live. Train travel made easy,” said Sunil Bajpai at CRIS, while sharing the new software, available at railradar.trainenquiry.com. The software is available in the form of a website and an Android app. It allows users to continuously watch the movement, with a graphic description, of trains that are currently running in India.
The colour coding: blue for ontime and red for delayed trains. There is a box that deals with trains affected, in a span of 24 hours, by fog alone. There is even a tab showing the expected time of arrival (ETA) using an algorithm that is fed inputs from the local control offices and monitoring stations.
“This is one of our endeavours to eliminate inconvenience to people. The family members now need not come to stations and wait for hours,” said railway minister Pawan Bansal. For the extra curious, there is an option that gives passengers the route covered by a specific train and the trains arriving at and departing from a particular station.
The system has a minor accuracy offset. “The data is refreshed every 5 minutes. Plus, there is no control on weather, breakdowns and congestions,” said CRIS managing director Vikram Chopra. Also, cargo and goods trains have been kept out of the application. Some officials have raised security concerns with tracking trains. “The assertion that knowing a train’s whereabouts or routing promotes terror or is a security risk is baseless paranoia,” said the CRIS official.