How to Improve Indian Railways

Well It comes to Indian Railways, passengers are unhappy because of the way the current things are going on. The Indian railways has to do better and improve in many areas. Here are some top areas where it can make progress.

Service Improvements

Ticket Booking on IRCTC: Booking a ticket online on IRCTC website is quite challenging for Indians. Most the times the servers are busy and there is not hope that we can book a ticket successfully. Well the situation was quite pathetic a few years book. Even registering for a new account was quite difficult at that time. Now the IRCTC is not in such worst situation. However still it make a good progress. It can use cloud technology and make ticket booking pretty faster.

Railway services: The top features used by the passengers are the checking of pnr status and train running status. checking of irctc pnr status is quite relatively fast and passengers do not face much difficulty in pnr status checking. However while checking for the train enquiry of a running train, the Indian railways portal do not respond and takes lot of time to show the live location of the train.

Food Catering in Trains: The food served by IRCTC catering in trains is not worth for what you pay. It is not quality food and sometimes it smells bad. The railway department should look for an alternative catering services rather than solely choosing IRCTC.

Technology Improvements

Bullet and Maglev Trains: Many countries like Japan are far beyond us in terms of technology. They have sophisticated trains like bullet and Maglev trains which runs at a speed of 300 to 600 KMPH. In India, we have still the old trains which are not even capable of crossing 120KMPH.

Derailment of Trains: Once in a year, in the news we might by hearing that some train was derailed. This become a common problem which needs to be taken as high priority and should be fixed immediately. Using latest technology, railway department should be able to detect tracks that are not in good condition.

Modern Railway Stations: The railway stations are in a very bad situation. They remind everyone of olden days. In the last two years, the government set up escalators and lifts in a good number of stations. However the stations are not revamped.

These are the just top 5 areas where our Indian railways have to focus on first. Well there are other areas like sanitation in rail and stations, hiring adequate number of employees and many other where it can show improvement.

South Eastern Railway (SER) Regular Operations

The South Eastern Railway division was once known as Bengal Nagpur Railway in 1955. The Bengal Nagpur Railways was a very old Indian Railways zone and its history dates back to 1887. However, in 1944 the British Government captured this division changed the name of this railway zone to East Indian Railway. By 1967 this zone of Indian Railway took over the Damodar Valley River line along six other operational zones within its jurisdiction.

Services of SER

Enquiry: The south eastern railway has an official portal where you can access all types of information. The operations carried out by South eastern railway consists of PNR status check, seat availability check, scheduled trains between stations, special train information, etc. You can simply log in to the official website and check out the required information.

Train Schedule: Not only the South eastern railway Time table but the site offers an insight into national train time table information. While you seek for train schedule information you are redirected to the Indian railway portal where you can acquire all information related to train time tables, train schedules, cancellation of trains, special trains etc.

Reservation system: In case of reservation of seats or berths the redirects you to IRCTC where you can make advance bookings and reservations. There is actually no specific or dedicated South Eastern railway reservation system. The IRCTC operates the reservations of Indian railway trains.

Advanced services of SER

Apart from the above written services the South eastern Railway site offers an extensive range of informative spectrum for the public. You can get all relevant information of latest railway works, tenders, projects related to this division. Besides that the site also provides abundant and up to date information of recruitment procedures, examinations, employment notices, etc. The site unveils all the current railway affairs, ministerial decisions on Railway development, latest trains launched, and also the news and press releases related to Indian Railway as well as South Eastern railway. You can log in to the site of this railway zone to avail particular department related information. Under the Indian Railway and under every zonal division there is specific segregation of departments oriented to civil engineering, medical, administration, etc. You can access all such relevant information by accessing this site.

The South Eastern Railway is extensively in operation since 1955. However it has undergone tremendous progress throughout these years and now become an integral part of the Indian Railway network. You can access information, go to reservation links; fetch current train time tables at this site. The site is revised and updated on routine basis to provide you current and relevant information.

Similar to SER, there are other zones like west central railway which also a part of the Indian Railways. It also responsible for carrying various day to day operations like managing the train on the rail tracks, freight control, track condition checking, signal controlling and many other. All these railway zones are monitored by the Indian Railways department.

Indian Railway and IRCTC June Updates

Railway Operating Costs
Over the last few years Indian Railway saved 5.4% on expenditure by reducing the operational costs. It is planning to even further curb the operational expenditure by reducing the diesel usage. As per the plan, the railway department is going to reduce the purchase of diesel by Rs.1500 cr which will save the costs by 9% this year. The goods trains in India are powered by diesel engines. A new technology called auxiliary power units will be set up in the goods trains which will reduce the diesel usage.

Go Green – Bottle Recycling

Indian railways installed bottle recycling machine in Mumbai railway station. Rather than throwing the used bottles on tracks and dustbins, passengers can now place these bottles in the recycling machine. This machine accepts bottles with a valid bar-code. This recycling machine processes the bottles instantly. This machine also offers mobile recharges, discounts to the customers as a token of appreciation. There is a plan to setup these machines in 10 more railway stations in Mumbai in a couple of months.

Young Guns as Station Masters

Good news for youth who are looking for jobs in railway stations. Our railway department is going to hire station masters for many railway stations. Priority will be given to youth. Senior station masters will be responsible for managing the railway station and taking care of the comfort of the passengers.

Executive Lounges

Indian railways introduced executive lounges in the New Delhi railway station. Passengers can now experience airport like experience. Passengers have to pay a nominal charge of Rs.100 per hour to avail these lounges. Facilities like AC, TV and Wifi services will be provided in these lounges. More executive lounges will be introduced in other railway stations as well in the near future.

Thats it with the updates on railways. More to come in the next post. Stay connected.

Indian Railway May Updates

There’s been so many updates this month on Indian railways. Here are the main highlights to go:

New Rules from July 1st 2016:

Tatkal Ticket Cancellations: Currently there is no option to cancel a confirmed tatkal ticket. Indian railways is going to provide 50% of refund on tatkal ticket cancellations. This new rule will come into effect from 1st July onwards.

Wakeup Call: Passengers will get a wakeup call destination facility in the trains. Passengers who sleep at night no need of worrying that they will cross their destination station.

Alternate train for waitlisted passengers: Passengers with a waitlist ticket will get a confimed berth in suvidha trains like shatabdi and rajadhani express. Only confirmed seats will be allocated in these trains. 50% refund will be given upon cancellation of tickets in suvidha trains.

Tickets in regional languages: Passengers can book ticket in their regional local language.

Railway Updates:

Solar powered train coaches: The railway department coming up with a proto type where the coaches are fitted with solar panels which supplies power for internal needs. Air conditioners, fans and lights will be run with this power supply. Trail runs of this type of caoches are going on. Any soon we can expect these coaches to run on the tracks.

IRCTC Portal Compramised: As per the online sources, it seems that 10 million users data is stolen and sold for just 225 dollars. However IRCTC and Indian railways claim that no such incident happened. We don’t have any information on whether the data is actually stolen or not.

Improving tracks. Most of the times trains were delayed due to worse condition of railway tracks. Indian railways is investing 80000 crore to imrpvoe the condition of the railway tracks.

Thats it with the updates so far. We will post more updates about our railway department in our next post. Meanwhile you can check the train running status at NTES. Share your views on our railways with us.

List of Indian Railway Services

Here is a complete list of services offered by the Indian Railways which you can find on the official site (http://www.indianrail.gov.in/) of Indian Railways. An overview of each service is mentioned here.

PNR Status: The most frequently used service by every passenger of the railways. The PNR Status service is for checking the berth confirmation.

Trains Between important Stations: Commuters can check the running trains between two stations and can plan their journey. Return Journey trains can also be checked here.

Seat Availability: Are you planning for journey. Then use the berth availability feature to know whether there are any seats available for booking in a train.

Fare Enquiry: Know the fare of the train and also check for concession availability in the train.

Mobile Ticketing Services: This service is only available in Mumbai and Chennai. Passengers can book a ticket through the mobile application. Upon booking ticket will be delivered to the mobile application.

Train Schedule: Just by entering the train number / train name, users can get the train schedule details. Schedule information like train halting stations, arrival time and departure time will be provided.

NTES: The national train enquiry system online service which provides the live location of a running train. This is also one of the widely used service and passenger use this service frequently for checking the train delay and location.

SMS Service: Passengers can check pnr status of a ticket by sending an sms to 139. Confirmed train ticket can also be cancelled by sending the ticket details as an sms to 139.

Current Booking Availability: Did you planned your travel just now and want to travel right away. Then this service is for you. Check for any seats availability using this service.

Apart from these services, there some features which are used rarely. They are train type information, view codes, trains at glance and rules. Did I missed any important service of Indian Railways, the comment here.

Train Ticket Cancellation Method 2016

Indian Railways have Introduced a new way to cancel train tickets. This new method will be active from April, 2016 on wards. Passengers can cancel the train ticket by dialing 139 from their mobile phones and confirm the details of the confirmed. After that passengers will  receive a OTP message which has to produced at the railway counters on the same day to get refund. This 139 facility is only available for the tickets booked at the railway counters.

The Indian Railways introduced this facility to make hassle free cancellation of the tickets. Recently the Indian railways have doubled the cancellation fee to stop agents and other mediators from booking train tickets in advance.

Current Process for Cancelling the Train Tickets:

Currently Passengers can book train tickets either at the railway counters or at through the IRCTC Portal. Users who booked train tickets through IRCTC portal have to login to the portal and cancel the tickets. IRCTC will refund the money and credit to the account used for booking the ticket. Users who booked tickets at the railway counters have to visit the railway stations, fill the cancellation form and submit the form to the railway employees. After the ticket cancellation, railway department will refund the money immediately.

Now with this new process, passengers can cancel the ticket by calling 139. After that passengers can go to the railway counters at their convenient time to receive the refund. However passengers are not happy with doubling the cancellation amount. On the other side the railway department supporting this by saying that it will benefit the genuine passengers and stops agents from booking tickets.

Whats your comment on this new cancellation policy. Is it convenience for users. What other ways can you think of cancelling the train tickets?

Indian Railways Reservation Quota and Concessions

The Indian Railways always looking for providing benefits to its passengers. In this year budget, the Railway Minister proposed for providing reservation quota for senior citizens. Now senior citizens will have 80 to 90 berths reserved in each train. This new quota will come into effect from 1st April 2016. Pregnant women who are age is above 45 years can also book a ticket under this quota.

Earlier in 2015, in each coach four lower berths are reserved for the senior citizens. From this year on wards, the quota is increased by 50% and six lower berths are reserved for the senior citizens except in the first AC class.
Lets take a look at the different quotas and concessions available while booking a ticket in the Indian Railways:

Reservations Quotas:

Here are the different type of reservation quotas in the Indian Railways:

  • General: Anyone can book a berth under this category:
  • Tatkal and Premium Tatkal: Tatkal quota is for passengers who plans their journey in a short period of time. Passengers can book ticket one day before the train start time. The ticket fare is higher than the general quota.
  • Ladies: Exclusive for women. In some trains, there are separate compartments for ladies where only women commuters are allowed.
  • Defence: This is a special quota for the people who serve for the country. Military, Navy and Air Force people fall into this category.
  • Foreign Tourist: Foreigners who visit India can book a ticket under this quota.
  • Handicapped: Physically Handicapped persons can book a seat in this type of category.
  • Parliament House: Members of the parliament house can book a berth under this category

Railway Concessions:

There are so many different type of concessions available in the Indian Railways. These concessions are generalized and put into short here:

  • Children and Senior Citizens: Children below 12 years and senior citizens above 58 years can get a concession on the ticket fare.
  • Patients: Patients suffering from diseases like cancer, anemia, heart problems can get concession upto 75%.
  • Artists: Artists can also get a discount ranging from 50 to 75%.
  • Award: Arjun Awardees can travel in the Indian Railways for free.
  • Scouts: Bharat scouts and guides can avail a 50% concession.
  • Blind people: Blind persons can get concessions from 25% to 100%. This depends on the train.

Apart from this list; handicapped persons, doctors, patient escorts, film technicians, students, un-employeed youth can also get concessions in the ticket fare.

IRCTC FAQs and Terminology

IRCTC Auto Upgrade: Those who book tickets online through IRCTC portal might have seen an Auto upgradation check box. Most of the users don’t know whats this option is and simply they don’t check this at all. In case if this auto upgrade check box is checked, then Indian railways allocates a set in the higher class if available. Example: If you have booked a ticket in Third AC and there are berths available in Second AC, then IRCTC will upgrade your berth and allocates seat in Second AC. Passengers don’t need to pay any extra amount for this upgrade. From next time on-wards check this box.

E-Ticket vs I-Ticket: Passengers can book any one of the two types of tickets on IRCTC Portal. These two types of tickets ore eTicket and iTicket. One must be careful when choosing the type of ticket. The default type of ticket is e-ticket. In this type of ticket, IRCTC sends an sms about the details. Passengers can show this sms to the ticket collector or they can take a printout of the ticket and present it to the TC.

I ticket is a counter ticket. This type of ticket will be delivered at the address given at the time of booking. Passengers can book an I-ticket before 4 days of the journey. Tatkal ticket cannot be booked under this type.

Handicapped Concession: Handicapped persons can avail a concession on the ticket booking. Passengers need to carry photo identity card issued by the Railway department which is to be produced on-board/ off-board verification during the journey.

Premium Tatkal: It is type of tatkal where the price of the ticket is not fixed. The price of the ticket changes dynamically and it increases with more number of passengers trying to book the ticket. This is just like auctioning for a product. The maximum price of the ticket will be between 3 to 4 times of normal price.

Crude Oil Importing by Indian Railways

We know that our Indian Railways is struggling to be in profits since many years. It is looking for different ways and alternate methods to increase the revenue. One way is to reducing the cost on some products. As a step towards it, the Indian Railways is planning to import the crude oil from foreign countries to replace the traditional diesel. This crude oil will replace the diesel in trains that are powered by the diesel oil. The crude oil is cheaper compared to the diesel and it costs only one third of the diesel. This will help the Indian Railways to save two third expenses on the diesel expenditure. Our Indian Railways consumes around 3 billion liters of diesel every year which costs around Rs. 18K crore. Just imagine how much the Indian railways is going to save by replacing diesel with crude oil.

Bullet Trains: The first bullet train is going to run between the Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The bullet trains can run at a speed of 350 kilometer per hour. The usual running speed of bullet train 320Kmph. The distance between Mumbai and Ahmedabad is 510Km. within just two hours, the bullet train can travel from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and vice-versa.

The Indian Railway has formed a special purpose vehicle to implement the high speed bullet train which is called as the national high speed rail corporation limited. The project will take around 7 years to complete. New technologies will be used in implementing this project.

SRESHTA R&D: High speed traveling trains like bullet trains, maglev (as of now no maglev trains) are becoming common in any country. Our Indian railways is also going to start its first bullet train project. In order to achieve this, our Engineers in the railway department have to learn a lot about new technologies. It has started a new research department called SRESHTA. The full form of SRESHTA is Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology and Holistic Advancement. This R&D department will comprise of Engineers and Scientists. This department will focus on the long term research for making modern and speed trains.

Indian Railway March Updates – Solar Panels

Solar Panels: In a step to reduce the power cost, Indian railways have finalized on setting up the solar panels in the railway stations and its premises. Under the power purchase agreement, the Indian railway have come up with this new policy of setting the solar panels on the rooftop of the railway stations. This will help the Indian railways in reducing the cost of the power. This new system will replace the existing fossil fuels which in turn reduce the consumption of the this fuels.

Solar Panels indian railways

Insurance Policy for Passengers: The Indian Railways is making some good moves to make passengers happy. It is planning to provide some insurance policies to the passengers. In case of any train accidents, this insurance policy will cover the medical treatment of the passengers or the policy will ensure that the passenger will remove money in case of death.

Indian railways is in touch with 7 insurance companies and if the agreement is finalized, then it needs an approval from the government. Passengers have to pay special premium to avail the insurance while purchasing the train ticket.

Ready to Eat Meals: In an attempt to provide tasty and quality food, the Indian railways have tied up with many online food delivery services like foodpanda, travelkhana, KFC, Dominos and many other. Passengers can order any of the pre-cooked food and can eat in trains.

New Trains: The Indian railways has introduced two new trains Kamakhya-Bhagat Ki Kothi Express and Siliguri-New Coochbehar DEMU.

Whats your stand on the insurance policy? Do you think that the Indian railways have to pay the insurance premium rather than the passengers? I guess that if every passengers buy the premium, then the insurance companies are going to become rich.

The solar panels set up is good move from the Indian railways. This will reduce the power bill and helps the railway to utilize the money for other purposes. Write your comments here.