Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world. Due to its sheer size, it is a big challenge to run it smoothly. But Suresh Prabhu who happens to be our Railway Minister seems to be doing an excellent job. Under his reign we have seen some radical changes in our mammoth railway system
Focus has been given to improve amenities, infrastructure and passenger experience along with adding new trains and facilities. Some of the works done are:-
High speed trains: Railways have granted approval to spanish firm Talgo to undertake trial runs which was successfully conducted between Izzatnagar and Bhojipura stations. The train is equipped with specially-designed lightweight coaches which are fitted with AC chair car seats, with no provision for sleeper coaches. The coaches are luxurious and they were pulled by an Indian engine during the trial. Although the speed during trial was 115 kmph, the commercial running speed of this train is expected to be around 200kmph.
New Trains: Travelling at a top speed of about 160 kmph, is not a dream anymore. The new fastest train of India Gatimaan Express covers 200 kms between Delhi and Agra in just 1 hour 41 minutes (Traveling from Gurgaon to Noida takes more time than this!) Mahamana express also made some headlines recently for its extra comfortable berths with full made-in-India coaches. Tejas, Hamsafarm, Antyodaya and Uday will start hitting the tracks soon, which are introduced keeping in mind all the sections of the society. Tejas and Hamsafar would be premium trains, Antoday would be the train of the common man. Uday would be a double-decker train. So folks, you would be getting hell lot of choices while travelling. Just Stay Tuned!
Bio-toilets: Railway tracks littered with human excreta may soon be a thing of the past. Indian Railways has asked firms to come forward to install and commission 40,000 bio-digester toilets. System introduced some “chemical locha” into the toilets which would turn it into a liquid form which will have characteristics of water and would then be discharged onto the tracks. (Dare not imagine!)
Social Media Connect: I am sure, if you are reading this, you must have heard the heroic deeds of our Railway Minister, addressing problems of passengers in real time using twitter handle RailMinIndia. Issues ranging from overcharging of Rail Neer to cleaning of dirty coaches have been taken care of just by a small tweet. So folks, keep tweeting, you never know Prabhu tumhari bhi sun le!
IRCTC onboard catering: Yeah, this is one serious affair, where government need to look into. For a trial basis catering is made optional on selected premium trains. The four premium pairs of trains where the trial is to be conducted are Nizamuddin-Mumbai Central (12953-12954) August Kranti Rajdhani, New Delhi-Patna Rajdhani (12309-12310), Pune-Secunderabad Shatabdi Express (12025-26) and Howrah-Puri Shatabdi Express (12277-12278). IRCTC also plans to serve local cuisines to passengers onboard (Will be a big relief from undercooked chapatis!)
Booking Capacity: Booking tatkal e-tickets is no longer a dream. No more woes of “paise kat gaye lekin ticket book nahi hua”. IRCTC has increased its e-ticket booking capacity many folds. The IRCTC's website is now capable of booking 7200 e-tickets per minute. Yes, with all that jazz during booking timings you need to believe me on this!
Wi-Fi at stations: While waiting for a train on platform stations, one would stumble on their phone a 1000 times, right? Well we now have Wi-Fi installed at railway stations. Announcement of free Wi-Fi service across 400 stations in partnership with Google. Already made available at seven stations namely Mumbai Central, Bhubaneswar, Kacheguda, Vijayawada, Raipur, Bhopal and Jaipur.
Dedicated freight corridor: Railways have started building railways tracks dedicated to goods trains. This will speed up the delivery time taken by railway transport. I guess we can safely assume now that passenger trains won't be stopped now to make way for goods trains ;)
So people, while thinking where we are on the railway systems, I think there is hell lot to be managed given the population of our country. Trainman app just makes it easier for you to access these information via PNR Status, seat availability, running status etc all such kinds of info at fingertips. There is still a long way to go for the railway systems; there definitely are some advancement that is circulating day in and day out from the ministry. Let us all hope for a better India and best Railway System in the world!