Travelling experience on the world’s fourth largest railway network, the Indian railways, is all set to change for the better, if things go as planned.
The Times of India reports that the Indian Railways together with RailYatri.in is working towards introducing services like providing alert messages on a passenger's phone, in case of a delay or cancellation of trains. It also plans to introduce wake-up calls for passengers. Not just this, RailYatri and the Centre of Railway Information Systems (CRIS) are in the process of developing an app to offer real-time information on the position of trains and their expected time of arrival in various stations.
Quoting Manish Rathi, CEO and co-founder of RailYatri.in, the report adds, "We're looking at providing services like wake-up calls and informing passengers if there are any changes in the schedule of the train they are booked in like delays or cancellations through SMS or phone calls."
For a happy journey! (Image credit: Getty Images)
He added, "It can even be to alert someone on the position of a train so they can receive their family at the station on time." Rathi also said that they are working towards "fine-tuning some features" on the app that they are working on to ensure that it works on iPhones, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices.
If plans take shape, then it’ll earn the Indian Railways some major brownie points, considering how popular this mode of travel is with the average traveller.
Passengers travelling from Delhi to Kolkata on the Rajdhani train recently got the ability to access Internet thanks to a proper Wi-Fi connectivity setup onboard. It is blissful, considering once you enter the hinterland, even sustained cellular connectivity can be an issue.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal recently launched the facility on the Rajdhani train at the New Delhi station. "Many passengers feel the need to access internet while travelling," a railway official told IANS.
The report goes on to say that passengers will be given login and password credentials for the duration of the journey, based on their tickets and identity cards. It is as yet unknown whether this Wi-Fi duration will take into account delays caused by technical snags or bad scheduling. But we would be highly surprised if it doesn’t, given the regularity with which such delays occur.
Railway sources also said that the Rajdhani experience will be used as a pilot run for a more widespread Wi-Fi connectivity on trains. The service will reportedly be introduced on 50 train services, including Shatabdi and Duronto trains, if and when it proves to be a successful venture.
Passengers will be able to access email and browse the web with a maximum download speed of 4Mbps and a max upload speed of 512Kbps. It must be noted that you may get much lower speeds than that because the bandwidth is shared between all the passengers on the train. However, in case demand for bandwidth becomes high, the network will prioritise activities like email access over downloads or video streaming.
Internet access on the trains is possible thanks to a two-way satellite hybrid with 2G/3G and Wi-Fi. This consists of an onboard satellite-tracking antenna, a multi-band antenna and Wi-Fi broadcasting equipment. The satellite-tracking antenna is placed in one of the power-generating coaches with the primary broadband link established via satellite. In case of non-availability of satellite, the multi-access router switches from satellite to 2G/3G spectrum to achieve 99 percent connectivity. Wi-Fi radios are provided outside each coach and the bandwidth is further distributed inside the coaches through indoor access points.
At the 2013 Railway Budget, the Railway Ministry also announced a plan to modernise coaches and the railway service in general. Besides bringing in wireless connectivity to select trains, the ministry is also planning to revamp the IRCTC ticketing website with a view to providing a hassle-free booking experience for customers
Published Date: Apr 17, 2013 08:05 pm | Updated Date: Apr 17, 2013 08:05 pm