To handle this chaotic network, the railways has adopted IT technology to improve its operation and give passengers a better experience.
A few initiatives like implementation of GPS technology on rail coaches, hand-held devices for ticket examiners, paperless unreserved ticketing through mobile phones, to name a few, have been employed, helping passengers in many ways.
According to reports, GPS devices are being used on trains to track them. Speaking to 'News Today,' Southern Railway Chief Commercial Manager J Vinayan said, "All future locomotives will be tracked by GPS soon. The technology is being tried right now."
According to a statement released by Southern Railway, hand-held terminals (HHTs) are being provided to train ticket examiners to check the reserved coaches and allot vacant berths. They will also transmit information on available berths to subsequent stations.
"We have tested it out in the Tiruchi railway division. The technology is very simple. The passenger chart will be downloaded in a tablet by the ticket examiner. It will be synched live with the PRS," said Vinayan.
"When the ticket examiner updates the status of the passengers, to see if they have boarded or not, this data will be uploaded on the PRS. So, people about to board in the next station can check if tickets are available. That is the aim of this system. This has also been tested in Delhi," he said.
Indian railways has also stepped up its effort on improving the ticket booking system through mobile phones. Paperless unreserved ticketing on mobile phones was launched in 2014 in Mumbai. Now, it has expanded to suburban sections of Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad.
"It's been in Chennai for the past two years. People can book tickets from anywhere. There is also rail e-wallet and you can add money from a counter or through the website," said Vinayan.
Sources say that about four lakh passengers per day book tickets through mobile phones.
Reports show that there is a gradual increase in average per day unreserved tickets booked on mobile phones. In all, 16,223 tickets were booked per day from 2017 to 2018. So far this year, 67,000 tickets have been booked per day.
Another initiative has been to improvise tendering activities of Indian Railways. Through the Indian Railway e-Procurement System (IREPS), all tendering activities like procurement of goods, services and also e-auction of scrap sale are done.
Reports show that from 2017 to 2018, 4,44,000 e-tenders, valued at more than Rs 1,50,000 crore, were issued through on IREPS. Last year, through e-auction, online scrap sale was valued at Rs 2,800 crore. It is said 90,000 vendors have registered on the IREPS website.