The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of the Railways, is engaged in developing these systems and a budget of Rs 400 crore has been approved for capital expenditure on computerisation in the current year.
The upcoming schemes include issuing tickets through mobile phones, where passengers will have to show the SMS instead of a paper ticket.
Also, the introduction of hand-held devices for data collection will eliminate the use of paper charts by Travelling Ticket Examiners, who check tickets and allot berths. In addition to this, the system will make berth allotment visible to passengers, and the booking of unoccupied berths in running trains will be done at stations.
Also, refunding of tickets will become more easy. The system has been implemented on a pilot basis in 12 Rajdhani Express trains and some trains between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
CRIS is also working on a mobile ticketing system for both reserved and unreserved categories, where passengers will not have to carry any paper tickets. In case of reserved tickets, a passenger will just have to show the SMS to the TTE instead of the ticket. CRIS is also toying with the idea of sending unreserved tickets directly to passengers.
The Parcel Management System developed by CRIS has been introduced on a pilot basis in 10 stations. These hand-held devices will also eliminate the use of paper and help in locating parcels. The computerisation plan includes installation of Track Management System and maintenance systems for locomotives, passenger coaches and freight wagons.
“Optimisation of the movement of locomotives over the vast railway system can save millions of litres of fuel and electrical power, reducing its carbon footprint considerably,” said CRIS General Manger R Badrinarayan.