Centre for Railway Information Systems Launches New Interface for Train Enquiry

Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT wing of Indian Railways, has developed an enhanced new interface for the http://www.trainenquiry.com for dissemination of information to public. National Train Enquiry System (NTES) developed by CRIS is the back end system which collects information about train running on near real time basis and disseminates information through interfaces like nationwide unique number 139, Website http://www.trainenquiry.com, face to face enquiry, mobile interfaces etc.

The new interface is accessible through http://www.trainenquiry.com or http://www.enquiry.indianrail.gov.in.

The new interface for the website was made public for past one week as field trial to get users’ feedback. The new interface, which offers quick and easy access to essential information for passengers, has been largely appreciated for its speed, simple interface and richness of information and smooth user experience. This new interface has been launched with effect from 6th September 2013.

Main features of the website provided under different Tabs on the Home page are as under:-

“Spot your train”- This query offers information about a train like Train Schedule, current running status, expected time of arrival/expected time of departure (ETA/ETD) at queried station.Complete running of the selected train can be easily seen through this interface.

“Station”- This query has been given to replicate the display boards at station. One can see, sitting at home the trains expected to arrive/depart at any given station in next 2/4/6/8 hours.Stations can be entered through code or name both. Option is also given to automatically refresh the screen every two minutes.

“Trains between Stations” – A very valuable query covering all trains defined on IR between any two stations. This complete information is presently not available on any other government website.

“Trains Cancelled”– This query displays all trains cancelled on IR. The tab displays trains which are cancelled through entire route as well as cancelled partially and providing service on partial route.

“Rescheduled” and “Diverted” – These queries display all trains marked as rescheduled or diverted on IR. The respective tabs display trains rescheduled timings and diverted route (from – to) information.

Some general characteristics are that all train numbers in different pages have been given as hyperlinks to view the schedule and current running. Pages have been kept light weight to enhance the speed of the website. All the information is navigable from a single home page with minimum clicks. Mobile version of the site is also available through same URL.

The interface has been made bilingual with Hindi version available on the website.

As part of the IR/CRIS ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of information to public, new features such as separate pages for special trains and major events would be made available subsequently.

The existing website interface running as beta version will be replaced with the new interface. All other interfaces namely Events (events.trainenquiry.com), Rail Radar (railradar.trainenquiry.com),Rail Radar Fog view (railradar.trainenquiry.com/fog), SpecialTrains(trainenquiry.com/liveupdates/SpecialTrains.aspx)

Mobile (mobile.trainenquiry.com) and (onthego.trainenquiry.com) will be redirected to the new interface and all the information will be available through the new web interfaces.


Railways to launch a faster ticketing site by November

There is something to cheer about for Railway users who have been facing long delays and failed transactions while trying to book tickets. The Railways is working on a brand new website that is three times faster. The plan is phase out the present IRCTC site and get the new one up and running in November.

For the time being, the new site will have a Beta version (development stage) bringing in users only if they want a booking experience different from the present IRCTC site. So, when the user reaches the home page of http://www.irctc.co.in, it will give two options: one will be the regular website and another link that will invite the user to “try out a new experience”.

According to Sunil Kumar, MD of Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of the national carrier, the new site is based on a new programming. “In it, we will separate journey planning from the part that involves ticket booking so that much of the information required for planning the journey can be accessed smoothly without hogging the resources needed to actually book the ticket,” Kumar said.

The website will “cache” info like train timings and other parameters electronically sought by every user to decide on a train he wants to book. This will segregate the traffic of users from those who actually go ahead with the booking.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Berlin, CRIS signed a pact with its German counterpart DB Systel which will collaborate in technology transfer for Indian Railway’s IT upgrade.

From 2,000 tickets per minute, the CRIS aims to create a system that can be book 7,000 tickets per minute by using massive server and firewall augmentation.

“The aim right now is to achieve user delight through technology solutions in Railways,” he said. Railway’s electronic-ticket booking business, through the IRCTC website (powered by CRIS), caters to up to five lakh ticket bookings per day, making it the largest e-commerce venture in the country and one of the largest in the world.


Rail Radar – Railway’s New Toy for anxious travellers

Panicking in a dense fog at Odhaniya Chacha, an unfamiliar railway station in Rajasthan, and unable to find any response from a gawky babu at a half-open information counter? Try the Indian Railways’ new offering — Rail Radar.

With an interactive Google map, this new software, designed by Union railway ministry’s IT wing Centre for Railway information systems (CRIS), 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 movements, with a graphical description, of trains, which are currently running in India.

For a clutter-free look, there’s a colour coding: blue for on-time and red for delayed trains adds.

A box that deals with trains affected, in a span of 24 hours, with fog alone too comes a handy tool.

There is even a tab that shows the expected time of arrival (ETA) of the train 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 of the passengers now need not come to the railway stations and wait for hours,” said Union railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.

For the extra curious, there is also an option for the passengers to know the route already covered by a specific train and the trains arriving at and departing from a particular station.

The system, however, has a minor accuracy offset. “The data is refreshed every five 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 the application.

Some concerned officials have also raised security concerns with the tracking trains.

“The assertion that knowing a train’s whereabouts or routing promotes terrorism or is a security risk is inaccurate reasoning and baseless paranoia,” said the CRIS official.


Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Indian Railways may introduce GPS in trains by 2013

We’re surely looking into the future with this technology. Officials behind the world’s fourth largest railway network, the Indian railways are, according to a report by The Economic Times toying with the idea of fitting a GPS-based solution in trains, to help it provide real-time tracking – accessible on mobile devices and PCs. Although still under debate and discussion, the reports have confirmed that the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), which functions as the technology unit of the Indian Railways, along with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have developed a GPS-based solution. The technology is capable of providing the exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis.

Details with such precision, if true, would prove to be an indispensible tool for the Indian railway officials, who will then have a system at their disposal to help them prevent head-on collisions and save lives, in the process. With the GPS system in place, it’ll be easy to locate the other train, and if quite near then they can start braking. The report adds, “The braking distance of passenger trains is about 1 km, while for freight trains it is about 1.4 kms.” This will be especially helpful in preventing accidents that occur due to the lack of information on the location of the other train. The proposed system, which the officials plan to fit in a roughly 100 trains will cost the railways around Rs 70,000-1,00,000 per train, according to reports. Prevention of accidents, at least for now seems to be the highlighting factor in the implementation of this system. The report states that this year, so far, around 22 people lost their lives in a train accident, while last year roughly 122 people died in train accidents in India. It adds, “According to reports, in the last four years, around 15% of rail accidents took place in India.”

Interestingly, passengers, too will be able to benefit from this system. Reportedly, the Centre for Railway Information Systems have integrated the GPS app with Google maps giving passengers precise details about their location. What the success of this system could do to crucial tasks, like train scheduling can be anybody’s guess. The report details that as opposed to the manual scheduling of trains wherein station masters inform the divisional headquarters about a train’s departure from a particular station; GPS systems will help in the planning and scheduling of the trains, reducing the need for having to make multiple confirmations. Quoting V A Chopra MD CRIS, the report states,”The government’s focus is to reduce the number of accidents and installation of real-time monitoring service on all trains by the end of 2013, which would contribute in improving the monitoring.”

GPS systems aren’t an entirely alien concept to Indian Railways, since even as you read this a pilot project’s successful run is on between Chennai and Tambaram railway station, wherein about 364 suburban train services have been scheduled successfully with the GPS devices. The CRIS, reportedly plans to set aside around Rs 70 crore to the project. With a successful pilot project backing them, it’ll only be a matter of time before we see the entire rail-route cutting across the country get GPS-equipped.


Indian Railways to launch real-time train tracking via Google maps

Indian Railways may soon launch real-time tracking of trains on Google maps that can be accessed through mobile devices and PCs.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the technology arm of the Indian Railways, has developed a GPS-based solution with help of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which can provide exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis.

The GPS devices, which will cost around Rs 70,000-1,00,000 per train, would be fitted in about 100 trains, which may help avert collisions and prevent loss of lives. In affect, trains in future may know each other’s location, and start breaking, in case of danger ahead.

The breaking distance of passenger trains is about 1 km, while for freight trains it is about 1.4 kms. Around 22 people have died this year due to train accidents, and last year around 120 people died. According to reports, in the last four years, around 15% of rail accidents took place in India.

“The government’s focus is to reduce the number of accidents and installation of real-time monitoring service on all trains by the end of 2013, which would contribute in improving the monitoring,” V A Chopra MD CRIS said.

Passengers may also be available to see real-time locations, as CRIS has integrated the GPS app with Google maps. ISRO’s INSAT-3C satellite will aid in location of moving trains. The GPS system can give an accuracy of about 10 metres, with a lag of about 2 minutes.

However, CRIS aims to shorten the distance to about 3 metres, the average distance between two gauge lines, a critical factor that can prevent accidents if a train on another line is derailing.

Success of the GPS-based system may help Railways in running trains at high speed. The GPS application will also aid in better planning of train schedules, especially in bad weather.

Currently, scheduling is done manually. Station masters call the divisional headquarters and inform them once a train has left a particular station. “In future, the controller will only plan the running and scheduling of trains instead of co-ordinating with various other stations to confirm the status of the trains,” said Chopra.

Indian Railways has about 77 control offices at over 6,000 stations. A pilot project has already started between Chennai and Tambaram railway stations, where about 364 suburban train services have been scheduled successfully with the GPS devices. CRIS plans to allocate around Rs 70 crore to the project.

The facility to track train movements will soon be available on Indianrailways. gov.in.

Last year, Indian Railways had announced the project Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) jointly with IIT-Kanpur for a similar tracking portal, which is currently in pilot stage with several trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.


Capgemini to bag contract for workshop management system project

Capgemini, the French information technology services and consulting major, has emerged as the lowest common bidder (L1) for the workshop management system project for Indian Railways.

The IT firm is understood to have secured the Rs 45-crore contract, following a fiercely-competed bidding process that saw the participation of six other companies, including HCL Technologies, Wipro, NIIT Technologies and L&T Infotech.

Indian Railways has been using its proprietary system for workshop management called Workshop Information SystEm (WISE-1). The system was developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of the Indian Railways.

The new system 1– WISE-II – aims at automating all 34 workshop maintenance sheds of the railways that do the overhauling and maintenance works of locomotives, carriages and wagons on a periodic basis. The project involves implementation of an enterprise resource planning-based system covering hardware, software, network rollout and support systems.

Capgemini, off late, has started focusing on the domestic IT outsourcing market in India that is largely dominated by global firms like IBM and HP, apart from Indian IT majors HCL, TCS and Wipro. In July last year, the company hired Ranjan Tayal, who was earlier heading the India and South Asia business unit of Satyam, to drive its India sales.

Indian Railways had floated the request for proposals (RFP) for the workshop management system contract in April-May this year. Seven IT players responded to the bid. After the technical evaluation, the bids of Mahindra Satyam and HP-EDS were rejected. The proof of concept for the project that requires the bidding firms to demonstrate their technology, was conducted two weeks ago.


NXP to supply ICs for contactless smart cards to Railways

Philips promoted NXP Semiconductors today said it has been selected by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to power contactless smart cards for automatic fare collection using Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) across the country and the project will begin by next month.

Initially, the ATVMs will be rolled out across five major cities in India, namely New Delhi, Secunderabad, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Pune.

As per the agreement, NXP will provide MIFARE DESFire-based ICs for approximately 6.5 lakh contactless cards over a period of one year.

”The project is expected to commence in September 2009 and will initially be rolled out in two cities,” NXP Semiconductors Senior Director (Global Sales and Marketing India) Ashok Chandak told reporters here.

However, he did not mention the name of the two cities where the project is expected to commence next month.

— (UNI) — 13DC13.xml