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.

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.

Internet Services in Indian Railways

Indian Railways is planning for bringing internet services to its passengers. It is considering to bring gaming and food ordering services in trains. It is mainly focusing on promoting startup ventures.

Travelkhanna is one of the online food delivery service which is already in partnership with the Indian Railways. Currently it is delivering 5000 meals per day and each meal costs an average of Rs.150. It is expecting that in the next two years that the number of orders will be doubled.

The Indian Railways also planning to partner up with food delivery services like Zomato and foodpanda. Passengers can easily order the food from their mobile app.

internet services in indian railways

Everyone wants to have some fun especially when they are free and bored. Traveling time in Indian Railways takes from hours to days. The Indian railways is planning to set up gaming services in the coaches. To start with a set of servers and gaming consoles will be placed in the first AC coaches to give passengers an arcade like video game system. Not sure whether it is possible to set gaming consoles in the sleeper classes. A good idea is to have separate coaches where the railway department can place all the entertainment equipment.

Did you know that the Indian railways in on twitter and handles daily 5000 tweets? Here is the twitter handle @RailMinIndia. Users can tweet their concerns and also even complaint on any unsatisfactory services. Passengers can even tweet their complaints from a running train and the issues will be addressed immediately.

I am waiting for the gaming services to be set up in the Railways. I wish it would set up in all the AC coaches. Of course there are even more priority thing the Indian railways have to sort it out especially the sanitation and the food quality.

Railway Fare Likely to Increase in the Coming Budget

Whats the railway budget 2016 is going to be? Right now there is  not much information on the railway budget and what its likely going to be. In general, most probably there will be new trains running in each station and the train fare might increase or decrease.

As per the sources, there is high chance of increasing the train fare by 10 percent. Here are the reasons why the train fare is likely to increase:

  1. The earnings from passengers and freights declined when compared to the year 2014.
  2. The 7th pay commission made some recommendations to the Indian Railways. To implement all these recommendations Rs.32000 cr is required.
  3. The finance minister had reduced the Indian railways budget by Rs.8000 cr for the financial year 2015-16.

indian railway train fare hike

Also the Indian railways fall 3.7% short in its earnings in 2015. The proposal to increase the train fare is going to be placed in this year budget. The Indian railways can take full advantage of this fare increase as the peak season is going to start from March.

IRCTC Train Fare Refund:

When booking a train ticket on IRCTC portal there is a high chance that the transaction will be failed and your amount will be deducted from your account. It seems that IRCTC is not refunding the amount in certain cases. One possible case is when you paid the money and then your bank didn’t redirected to IRCTC portal. In this case the IRCTC website won’t receive the amount. The IRCTC or your  bank should take responsibility in crediting the amount back to your account.

Railway Update – Partial Cancellation of Trains of 14-Feb-2016:

There is likely going to be some trains will be cancelled on 14-Feb-2016 in new Delhi due to the ongoing construction activity.

Warning system on unmanned railway crossings:

In India 40% of the railway accidents are happening at the railway crossings especially at unmanned railway crossings. The Indian railways is going to introduce warning system at these crossings to avoid any train accidents. The new system is going to warn people who are crossing the track whenever a train is going to pass by. Now people will know that there is a train going to pass by and won’t cross the railway track.