In line with Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal’s vision to ensure better user experience by recommending best Information Technology industry practices, Railway’s Online Travel Portal –IRCTC has now launched beta version of its new User Interface, which has more user friendly features for easier navigation.
The ‘Digital India’ initiative has paved way for government organisations to harness power of technology and in making lives easier for citizens of India. By creating Next Generation e-Ticketing (NGeT) system the new online ticket booking system of Railways provides easy and fast way of booking rail tickets by automating the journey planning and purchase of tickets.
E-ticketing today constitutes about two third of total reserved tickets on Indian Railways. With the launch of new interface of e-Ticketing Website, user can now enquire / search trains and check availability of seats without login also, thereby saving precious time of the users. User can now change font size throughout the website for comfortable viewing experience.
The new look and feel will have enhanced class-wise, train-wise, destination-wise, departure/arrival time wise and quota-wise filters for facilitating customer while planning their journeys. Single screen information about the train including the train no, train name, originating and destination station and distances between them, arrival and departure time and journey time has now been arranged.
In addition, more features such as new filters on ‘My Transactions’ where user can also view their booked tickets based on Journey Date, Booking Date, Upcoming Journey and completed journey. To enhance customer’s booking experience, interesting features like ‘Waitlist prediction’, etc have been introduced. Using this feature, user can get the probability of a Waitlisted or RAC ticket getting confirmed. This technique uses algorithm based on historical booking trends of the particular train. This feature will add new value to the online e-ticket booking system of the railways. New attractive colour scheme for different trains with facility to modify the journey details on the journey planner page itself will bring further ease of booking to the users.
The new look and feel is providing the facility for the user to find out the availability up to the entire Advance Reservation Period i.e. 120 days at present, except few trains. In the new system, user can perform multiple activities through booked history with improved interface for cancellation of tickets, printing of tickets, request for additional SMS, selecting alternative train by exercising the option of ‘Vikalp’ and change of boarding point if required. Technological advancements in the development of New User Interfacealso facilitate seamless navigation in mobiles, desktops, laptops and tablets.
Users have been invited to initially, switch to the beta version of the website and get the first hand experience of its look, feel and usage for a period of 15 days during which Railways will take suggestions from them for further changes and improvement of the site. After this the beta version of the new interface will replace the old interface of IRCTC e-ticketing portal enabling a smooth transition of the users to the new interface.
Further, Ministry of Railways conducted a one day workshop “Mission Raftaar” aimed at raising the average speed of freight trains and coaching trains in New Delhi. The workshop was inaugurated by Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways & Ashwani Lohani, Chairman,Railway Board. All the members of Railway Board along with General Managers of Zonal Railways & Senior Railway officers were present on the occasion.
On this occasion, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal said, “This workshop is an exercise with the top management of Indian Railways to brainstorm about the increase in speed of freight and passenger trains. Also, host of issues ranging from punctuality, rolling stock, removing bottlenecks in terms of traffic, elimination of Unmanned Level crossings were discussed. Indian Railways is enthusiastically taking up all the issues with the determination to find the solution in a time bound manner.” He also stated that coal loading was highest i.e. 555 MT in 2017-18. In last three months, 18.7% increase is witnessed in coal loading. Ministry of Railways & Coal is coordinating well so as to ensure there is no shortage of coal in power plants. He added that demand for coal has also witnessed an increase due to less imports. He complimented Coal India Limited for increasing supply of coal in last three months.
Earlier in the day, in the inaugural remarks, Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways said, “Indian Railways has been emphasising on capacity building and lot of work has been done, now the time has come to address the bottlenecks so the speeds of trains can be increased. Railway officials have the best expertise to come up with solutions to implement Mission Raftar.”
Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board in his inaugural remarks said, “This workshop aims to address the futuristic needs of Indian Railways. Indian Railways have been prioritising safety of its passengers and Indian Railways have considerably achieved the best figures in safety record. It is the time to ponder over the challenges which have been a constraint in providing speed to the trains, also a strategy needs to be devised & implemented.”
Mission Raftar aims at doubling the average speed of freight trains and increasing average speed of coaching trains by 25kmph over a five year period. Average freight train speeds are 24kmph and average passenger train speeds (excluding suburban trains) is 44kmph. Increasing average speed of trains is considered essential for reducing the travel time for passengers, transit time for cargo, operational cost, improving revenues and railway’s market share.
News Update| 1 June 2018| Deccan Queen completes 88 years of service
Initially, the train was introduced with 2 rakes of 7 coaches each one of which was painted in silver with scarlet mouldings and the other with royal blue with gold lines. The under frames of the coaches of the original rakes were built in England while the coach bodies were built in the Matunga Workshop of the GIP Railway.
The Deccan Queen, initially, had only first class and second class accommodation. First class was abolished on 1st January 1949 and second class was redesigned as first class, which continued up to June 1955 when third class was introduced on this train for the first time. This was later re-designated as second class from April 1974 onwards. The coaches of the original rakes were replaced in 1966 by anti-telescopic steel bodied integral coaches built by Integral Coach Factory, Perambur. These coaches incorporated improved design of bogies for better riding comfort and also improvements in the interior furnishings and fittings. The number of coaches in the rake was also increased to 12 from the original 7 coaches providing additional accommodation. Over the year the number of coaches in the train has been increased to the present level of 17 coaches.
From its inception, apart from providing high standards of comfort to the passengers, the train has witnessed various improvement such as introduction, for the first time in India, of coaches with roller bearings, replacement of end on generation coaches with self generating coaches with 110 volts system and introduction of first and second class chair cars providing increased accommodation to passengers. The distinctive colour scheme of cream and oxford blue with red band above the window level has been recently adopted as the colour scheme for this train.
The management systems of Deccan Queen (2123 Dn / 2124 Up) have been assessed by International Services Ltd. and found to comply with the requirements of ISO 9001-2000 under the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand in November 2003. At Present Deccan Queen (12123/12124) runs with 17 coaches including 4 AC chair car, one Buffet Car, 10 second class chair car and two second class cum brake vans.
News Update| 5 June 2018| IRCTC introduces bagasse based food packaging to commemorate World Environment Day 2018
As World Environment Day 2018 celebrations kick off in India, Ministry of Railways PSU IRCTC launched its trial run of environment friendly bagasse based food packaging on 8 select Shatabdis and Rajdhanis originating from New Delhi. Passengers in these trains will be served meals on eco-friendly disposable plates (compostable containers) instead of the polymer ones as part of the Railways’ drive to go green.
IRCTC with this new initiative reaffirms its commitment to a cleaner and greener India and has taken a small step in this direction to achieve the same. Bagasse, the fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice, is being used to make disposable cutlery and containers in which meals will be served. Provision will be made to collect the used packaging which will then be processed for disposal through composting to ensure environmental sustainability. The endeavour after the initial trails is to progressively introduce bagasse based packaging as a viable alternative of non bio-degradable material being currently used on all Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains managed by IRCTC in the coming months.
News Update| 11 June 2018| Indian Railway’s new App ‘Menu on Rails’ and Rail Madad to expedite grievance redressal
Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal launched a new App ‘Menu on Rails’, a Mobile Application developed by IRCTC for creating awareness to the Railway Passengers for the items served to them on their Rail Journey. The Mobile APP displays menu served on all type of trains in 4 categories namely : Beverages, Breakfast, Meals and A-La-Carte. Also, rates for standard food items like Tea, Coffee, Packaged Drinking Water, Janata Khana, Standard Veg (Thali), Standard Nonveg (Thali), Standard Veg (Casserole) and Standard Nonveg (Casserole), are given both for train as well as stations (Excluding Food Plazas and Fast Food Units) are on the app. The A-La-Carte includes list of 96 items under the categories of Breakfast, Light Meals, Combo Meals, Non Veg, Jain Food, Sweets, Diabetic foods etc.
The Mobile App also displays the menu to be served in Rajdhani/ Shatabdi/ Duronto group of trains where foods are pre booked by passengers at the time of booking their tickets itself. Food items (Pre Booked) to be served are displayed separately for EC and CC classes in case of Shatabdi trains and 1A, 2A and 3A classes for Rajdhani and Duronto trains. In case of Duronto trains, food items for Sleeper class are also displayed. Menu is also given for late running of these trains.
Food items (Pre Booked) to be served in Gatiman and Tejas trains are also displayed. The Mobile App will be available on Android and iOS platforms. The website version is also available for users.
In line with digital initiatives of PM of India, Indian Railways has for the first time completely digitised the Complaint management system. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal also launched a new App “Rail Madad” – An App to expedite & streamline passenger grievance redressal. RPGRAMS (Railway Passenger Grievance Redressal and Management System), which has been developed by Northern Railway (Delhi Division) and comprises many novel features including ‘Rail Madad’ – a mobile App to register complaints by passengers through mobile phone/web. It relays real time feedback to passengers on the status of redressal of their complaints- the passenger gets an instant ID through SMS on registration of complaint followed by a customised SMS communicating the action taken thereon by Railway. RPGRAMS integrates all the passenger complaints received from multiple modes (14 offline/online modes currently) on a single platform, analyzes them holistically and generates various types of management reports which enable the top management to continuously monitor the pace of grievance redressal as well as evaluate the performance of field units/ trains/ stations on various parameters viz cleanliness, catering, amenities etc. It also identifies weak/deficient areas and laggard trains/stations for undertaking focussed corrective actions.
Rail MADAD (Mobile Application for Desired Assistance During travel) registers a complaint with minimum inputs from passenger(option of photo also available), issues unique ID instantly and relays the complaint online to relevant field officials for immediate action. The action taken on complaint is also relayed to passenger through SMS, thus fast tracking the entire process of redressal of complaints through digitisation.
It also displays various helpline numbers (e.g., Security, Child helpline etc) and provides direct calling facility for immediate assistance in one easy step. All modes of filing complaints including offline and online modes are being integrated on a single platform, therefore the resultant management reports present a holistic picture of weak/deficient areas and enable focused corrective action by officials concerned.
Here, the data analysis would also generate trends on various performance parameters of a selected train/station like cleanliness, amenities etc thus making managerial decision more precise and effective. Hierarchy based dashboard/reports will be available for management at Division /Zonal/Railway board level and sent through auto email to every concerned officer weekly.
News Update| 13 June 2018: Indian Railways: Cashless Ticketing through ‘Utsonmobile’ app developed by CRIS
Continuing towards digitalisation and moving towards becoming a cashless economy, the initiative of faster and more techno-advanced transactions in Indian Railways is being taken up, the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) has developed a mobile based application ‘utsonmobile’. The ‘utsonmobile’ application enables booking and cancellation of unreserved tickets, issue and renewal of season and platform tickets, check and load R-wallet balance and helps maintain user profile management and booking history.
The ‘utsonmobile’ application is very handy, free and is available for both Android and Windows smart phone. Users can download this app from Google Play Store or Windows store free of cost.
To begin with a passenger will get registered by providing his/her mobile number, name, city, default booking train type, class, ticket type, number of passenger and frequently travelling routes. Upon successful registration, Railway Wallet (R-Wallet) will be created automatically with zero balance to the passenger. There will be no extra cost for creating R-Wallet.
News Update| 7 July 2018| Ministry of Railways approves digital Aadhaar and Driving Licence from Digital Locker as proof of identity of passengers for undertaking journey by Train
At present, the following proofs of identity are considered as valid for undertaking journey in any reserved class of Indian Railways:-
I. Voter Photo identity card issued by Election Commission of India
III. PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department
IV. Driving Licence issued by RTO
V. Photo identity card having serial number issued by Central/State Government
VI. Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students
VII. Nationalised Bank Passbook with photograph
VIII. Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph
IX. Unique Identification Card-Aadhaar, m-Aadhaar & e-Aadhaar
X. Photo Identity cards having serial number issued by Public Sector Undertakings of State/Central Government, District Administrations, Municipal bodies and Panchayat Administrations
XI. In case of reserved tickets booked through computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters, for undertaking journey in Sleeper (SL) & Second Reserved Sitting (2S) classes, attested photocopy of Ration Card with photographs and Nationalized Bank Passbook with Photograph are also accepted.