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Mis in Railways


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Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalized as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways operates both long distance and suburban rail systems.

Fig: Shows the top railways network in world

Indian railway is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting 17 million passengers and more than 2 million tons of goods daily. IR is the world's largest commercial, with more than 1.6 million employees. The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country; the routes cover a total length of more than 63,327 km (39,500 miles). As of 2008, IR owned about 225,000 wagons, 45,000 coaches and 8,300 engines and ran more than 18,000 trains daily, including about 8,984 passenger trains and 9,387 goods trains.

Annually it carries some 4.83 billion passengers and 492 million tons of goods. Of the 11 million passengers who climb aboard one of 8,984 trains each day, about 550,000 have reserved accommodations. Their journeys can start in any part of India and end in any other part, with travel times as long as 48 hours and distances up to several thousand kilometers. The challenge is to provide a reservation system that can support such a huge scale of operations — regardless of whether it's measured by kilometers, passenger numbers, routing complexity, or simply the sheer scale of India. The main challenges in front of the Indian railways are:

• Provide a reservation system that efficiently serves more than half a million people each day • Ensure maximum uptime so reservation/ticketing/enquiry application is available 24x7 • Create a Web site that can accommodate more than one million hits per day • Punctuality of trains in various divisions should be visualized • Issuing of tickets to the unreserved passengers • Maintenance of data in all levels • Managing the traffic

Realizing the important role that information plays in Railways operations, IR had embarked on its Computerization Program, earlier than many other organizations in the country. Towards the end of 60's, two positive developments took place in Indian Railways.

Firstly, even though, computerization was perceived by many as a labor saving measure, IR could realize its potential advantage and the plan to progressively computerize Railways was accepted in principle by Management and the Labor Unions.

Secondly, a dedicated skeletal communication network was developed by IR, as a basic requirement for train operation, even though the future development of the merger of computers and communication to give birth to Information Technology was not actually visualized at that time. After the early introduction of regular flavour computer applications such as Pay rolls, Inventory control and Operating statistics, Railways were poised in the mid 70's for deployment of computers for productivity improvement through building up operational databases. However, certain administrative issues and political development came in the way of bringing about any further developments in the field of computerization. The period between mid 70's to early 80's were however utilized by IR to develop a blue print for further computerization. During the beginning of the 80's IR decided on

• Computerization of the Passenger Reservation Arrangement.

• Developing a Freight Operations Information System.

• Replacing the existing Computers at the Zonal Railways and Production Units

with the State-of-the-art Computer systems enabling the organization to computerize more applications and increasing the volume of users.

• Provision of Computers at Divisions, New Production units, Workshops, Sheds and Depots and Training Institutes.

• Quantum improvement in the use of Computers in the offices.

In the last 20 years, IR has made significant progress in Computerization. Out of these developments, we shall examine some of the systems that are currently being used/developed on IR. Management Information System plays a vital role to overcome all this drawbacks in the railways.


Nallaswamy V.P, wrote on Indian Railways: Information Technology Innovations in Passenger Services. The transportation industry today has to be on the move, constantly, in more ways than one. It has to deal with the increasing demands of customers and suppliers, while simultaneously trying to optimise the entire business operation at minimum cost. To keep pace with changing business paradigms, transporters need more than ever to use information technology, not merely as an enabler of operations but as a strategic driver and critical business tool.

Sanjay Nayyar1, Vinayshil Gautam and M.P. Gupta1, were wrote on Information Systems Planning: Indian Railways Experience. The focus of this study is information systems development in the Indian Railroads performing in the ambit of the government sector and the concomitant pressures. It tries to address the relationships among work systems and Information Systems in order to understand the priorities of work systems where Information Systems can be developed with minimum inputs.

Suresh N, wrote on Role of Information Systems in Indian Railways, Indian Railways has been a pioneer in the use of IT in India. IT was first adopted in the 1960s, when computerized passenger and freight revenue accounting, payroll and inventory management were introduced using IBM 1401 computers placed in zonal data centers. Later on, notable success has been achieved in the form of the passenger reservation system (PRS) in the mid eighties, and its subsequent enhancement to a fully networked application. The freight operations information system (FOIS) is currently under implementation. It will greatly change the way freight train movement and goods consignments are monitored in the Indian Railways.

Ingall, P, wrote on London Underground is currently procuring via the UK government's Private Finance Initiative (PFI) the replacement of its existing train, station and depot radio systems with a single trunked private mobile radio system and the installation of a new fibre optic transmission network which will support services such as telephony, customer/staff information systems and IT as well as a video transmission network with capability to serve all operational sites. The main drivers for the Project are due firstly to the fact that many of the existing radio and transmission systems are beginning to reach the end of their useful lives and require replacement. Secondly the existing systems no longer provide the functionality and types of service required for a modern mass transit railway serving a large urban area such as London. The Connect Project aims to provide a fully integrated communications system which will serve London Underground well into the 21st century and support new types of services and more efficient ways of working which will bring benefits to both the customers and staff of London Underground. This paper gives an overview of the history of the project, the government's PFI and how it relates to London Underground's Connect Project, the procurement process and a description of the likely technologies and their deployment


Data processing centers were created way back in the 1960’s. Also the legacy systems like Payroll systems, inventory management and operating statistics were involved. These systems involved high processing of information. The applications evolved but the functionalities remained the same. There were many attempts to create Human Resource Management, MMIS and office applications for automation.

But there was plenty of problems to upgrading systems with newer technologies was very difficult. The older platform used by the legacy systems didn’t integrate well with new applications using new platforms.

The Railway information systems were categorized into various levels. Each level has its own importance and a strong base is required at lower levels to support the higher level systems. The basic idea is that for each organizational level information system support must be provided.

Fig: Shows the levels of information system

CRIS - CENTRE FOR RAILWAY INFORMATION SYSTEMS Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) was established in 1986 by the Ministry of Railways at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. It was to be an umbrella organization for all computer activities in the Indian Railways. They were also entrusted with the task of the design, development and implementation of the Freight Operations Information Systems

(FOIS), along with it’s associated communications infrastructure. This Centre started functioning from July 1987. It is an autonomous organization headed by a Managing Director. CRIS is mainly a project oriented organization engaged in development of major computer systems on the Railways. CRIS has acquired special knowledge and expertise in the field of informatics. With such rich practical experience, a dedicated team of professionals and its own R&D effort, CRIS aims to be a leader in this fast developing field. Today, CRIS has come a long way with its activities encompassing the entire gamut of design, development, implementation and maintenance of large online applications, such as Freight Operations Information Systems (FOIS) and Passenger Reservation System (PRS) of Indian Railways. CRIS approach focuses on new ways of business combining IT innovation and adoption while also leveraging an organization's current IT assets. CRIS works with the Indian Railways to build new products or services and to implement prudent business and technology strategies in today's dynamic digital environment.

Fig: Shows the CRIS technology

Project at CRIS: This Projects are MIS based systems.
The following are the main projects that are handled by CRIS:
1. Freight Operation Information System (FOIS)
2. Passenger Reservation System (PRS)/ Alpha Migration (CONCERT)
3. National Train Enquiry System (NTES)
4. Booking of Tickets on Internet
5. Integrated Coaching Management System (ICMS)
6. Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS)
7. Control Office Application (COA)


The Indian Railways carries nearly 900 million tonnes of freight in a year. This translates to about 5000 freight trains daily. Freight trains bring two thirds of the Indian Railway revenues and are referred to as the bread earners for the Railways. The major commodities carried by Indian Railways are Coal, Iron Ore, Food grains, Iron & Steel, Cement, Petroleum products, Fertilizer and Containerized Traffic. There are specialized wagons to handle the transportation needs of the different types of commodities. Unlike passenger carrying trains, freight trains do not run to a fixed schedule and thus making freight operations a highly information intensive activity. Based on this information managers make allocation decisions continually to dynamically optimize utilization of resources like wagons, locomotives, crew and paths on the network. Real time information allows good decision making and thus ensures high levels of mobility within the system.

Fig: Shows the FOIS design.

The Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) was the first project which CRIS embarked upon. In fact the creation of CRIS is a by-product of this effort in the mid-eighties. FOIS began as an application to track and monitor the movement of wagons, locomotives and unit trains. Now it is a complete management module for freight trains handling the billing and revenue collections as well. It has played a major role in the improved wagon productivity on Indian Railways and the objective is to use the information to further improve productivity, customer service and thus meet the needs of a rapidly growing economy.

Fig: Shows the transportation of goods.

Features Apart from monitoring the movement of freight trains, the system calculates freight and other charges based on complex rules of business and generates the Railway Receipt , the bill payable by the shipper. Today electronic collection of freight has reached an astounding figure of Rs 100 crores (US$ 20 million) per day. The system has the capability of tracking and tracing consignments and publication of information to the end users. To bring in greater transparency, Indian Railways have begun automatic allotment of rakes to customers for select commodities based on priority rules, operational restrictions, and commercial agreements. Services are provided to major customers by integrating FOIS with their legacy systems. It is capable of keeping record of asset ownership and maintenance, which is now being integrated to an SAP based asset maintenance management system. Most importantly, it also generates performance reports for terminals, train movements, asset use, financial statements and their trends over time that have been used for bringing about systemic improvements. [pic] Fig: Shows the FOIS network
The application has been developed in house with a 3-tier architecture using Visual Basic 6.0 (EE), Oracle Tuxedo 10 (Middleware) and Oracle 10g as Database. Reports are available on J2EE platform accessible both on FOIS network and over the web at FOIS is integrated with other operations modules of CRIS using an Enterprise Application Integration software and with banks and customer legacy system through SOA using web services. Oracle grid including Oracle Weblogic, Oracle Tuxedo and Oracle DB are used for the same.

2. PRS – PASSENGER RESERVATION SYSTEM Reserved travel by Indian Railways is facilitated by the Passenger Reservation System (PRS). PRS provides reservation services to nearly 1.5 to 2.2 million passengers a day on over 2500 trains running throughout the country. The PRS Application CONCERT (Country-wide Network of Computerized Enhanced Reservation and Ticketing) is the world’s largest online reservation application, developed and maintained by CRIS. The system currently operates from 5 Data centers. The server clusters are connected together by a core network that enables universal terminals across country, through which the travelling public can reserve a berth on any train, between any pair of station for any date and class.
Fig: Shows the Reservation System.

Reservation System The PRS is available at over 8000 counters in more than 2380 locations throughout the country, including all major stations, and important non-railhead locations such as tourist centers and district headquarters. The PRS services are available to passengers for 23 hours in a day. Passengers can reserve a berth for any train 90 days in advance. In addition to the railway counters, multiple delivery channels have been provided to Rail passengers to access the PRS services. Enquiry services through Internet were launched in year 2000. Touch screen, IVRS and Display boards are enabled at major booking location for details on train accommodation availability. I- Ticketing and E-ticketing and through Internet was launched in year 2002 and 2005 respectively. Booking through Post offices was launched in year 2007.Enquiry services through 139 were launched in year 2007. PRS ticketing through Mobile VAN (Mushkil Assan) was launched in 2009.

Fig: Shows the website and online booking architecture

Automating Ticket Checking To improve the transparency in seat allocation after charting and increase the berth utilization, PRS is in the process of automating the operations of TTE. It is aimed that the passenger attendance is marked by the TTE on a Hand Held Device instead of a paper chart and the berths, vacant on account of not turned up passengers are transferred to a central database. These berths can be utilized by TTE for allocation to RAC/WL passengers or to WL passengers/ with current Ticket intending to board the Train from next stopping station. This will also speed up the refund process as the data regarding not turned up passengers will be directly transferred to Refund System. Hand Held Terminals (HHTs) are already functioning in 12 pair of trains. Indian Railways plans to extend this facility to another 70 pair of Rajdhani and Shatabdi Trains.

CONCERT Architecture CONCERT architecture is based on the state of the art technology using 3-tier client-server distributed transaction processing paradigm. The system has distributed architecture with 5 server clusters placed in server centers in five cities: New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad. The server clusters are connected together by a core network based on a mesh of 02×02 Mbps leased lines. It is an on-line client server application developed in ‘C’ on OVMS using RTR (Reliable Transaction Router) as middleware. It is currently hosted on state of art converged infrastructure (Itanium blade servers).

[pic] Fig: Shows the CONCERT network topology

3. NTES – NATIONAL TRAIN ENQUIRY SYSTEM Although Indian Railways is known for its punctuality in train running, at times for reasons beyond the control of Indian railways trains get delayed, are rescheduled from their starting station, cancelled or diverted to another route resulting in change in the actual Arrival/Departure time from its scheduled time. To save the inconvenience caused to Rail users due to these changes in train running, National Train Enquiry System (NTES) provides information to public about expected Arrival/Departure of train at each stopping station, train schedule information, information about cancelled trains, diverted trains, and platform berthing information. [pic][pic]

Fig: Shows the enquiry realistically and through online The main goal and objective behind NTES system to provide timely and reliable information to general public through user friendly interfaces and PAN India accessibility has been achieved to a large extent and now the information is conveniently and reliably available to public all over the country through various delivery channels i.e. through web browsing, through mobile phone or landline (voice and SMS) and also in person at all IR stations. NTES has won National Award for e-Governance 2010-2011 for Innovative use of ICT by PSUs for customer's benefit and “National Train Enquiry System (NTES)” was adjudged as a Finalist in the Computerworld Honors Program instituted by the Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation, USA.

|S.No |User Channels |Service |
|Northern Railway |57 |29025 |
|Central Railway |166 |1129371 |
|Western Railway |115 |334573 |
|South Central Railway |64 |55765 |
|Southern Railway |61 |82630 |

Mobile-Van Ticketing : ‘Mushkil Aasan’ In order to make ticketing a more convenient experience the concept of Mobile Counters deployed in Vans were made operational in Jan 2010. As a pilot, one such Van is functional in Delhi and Kolkata issuing both Un-reserved and Reserved Ticket. This model makes use of GPRS/CDMA technologies for connecting to the server.
The application has been developed with a 3 layered architecture in C++. The database requirements are met through a Sybase product, ASE-CE. A Java version of the application is used in the ATVMs to provide additional features in the user interface.

| |

4. COA – CONTROL OFFICE APPLICATION Train operations on the Indian Railways are controlled and monitored by the Control Rooms in each of the seventy seven divisional offices. The Control Room is the nerve center of the division. The fluidity of train movements over the jurisdiction of the division is dependent on the efficiency of the Control Room operations. The Control office, by its very nature never shuts down and works all hours of the day and every day of the week. The Control Office Application has changed the way the trains are monitored as train movements are captured in real time and movement of scheduled and unscheduled trains planned and controlled through the computer aided interface.

Fig: Shows the control office map view kind of application

The Control Office Application is the latest addition to train operations related IT applications. Along with Freight Operations Information System (FOIS), COA has led to all information on train operations being computer generated. It is this application that feeds the National Train Enquiry System (NTES) that provides passengers up to date information on train running. The objective of the Indian Railways is to further improve the operations by using technological aids that enable quicker data capture and intelligent applications that provide better planning and forecasting tools.


The application requires the controllers to enter data related to the train operations as they receive information from the control points or stations. The application charts the running of the train in a section (a portion of the divisional network) and also generates the advance forecast based on various operational parameters. The train is then virtually handed over to the adjacent division as per its physical movement to maintain continuous flow of information.

The key features of the application include the ability of the controller to order trains, view all possible routes, divert or re-route trains, if required. The application has the facility for capturing and viewing details of consist or composition of the train, details of the crew and locomotive. Reporting of unusual events is enabled through the user friendly interface. There is also a chart that shows details of line occupancy, caution orders, and abnormal working. One of the key elements of the application is the ability to forecast or extrapolate the running of trains which allows the controller to plan better. For managerial supervision the charts can be printed apart from the fact that structured MIS reports are also generated.

COA has been designed such as it can be integrated with any other application. The National Train Enquiry System (NTES), the Punctuality Analysis Module (PAM), and Freight Operations Information System are all integrated through an Enterprise Application Integration Software.


The application has been developed with a 3 layered architecture comprising of client, application servers and database servers. The operating system is Windows Server 2003, 64 Bit for servers and Win XP for clients. Data base is Oracle 10g 64 bit. GUI is based on ASP. Net, C# Win Forms and middleware is Dot Net Framework with IISTEAM.

RAILNET RAILNET has the potential for transfer of messages, files, e-mails between the important locations on Indian Railways. In addition, the internal web site in Railway Board and Zonal Railways Headquarters supports codes, manual procedure orders, policy directives and other important information for day-do-day use by various officials. Detailed estimate amounting to Rs.7.81 crore for the work of RAILNET was sanctioned in Nov.’98 by the Railway Board. The structure of RAILNET is as under:

Fig: Shows the networking of railways

RAILNET will provide computer connectivity between Railway Board and Zonal Railways, Production Units, Centralized Training Institutes, RDSO, CORE MTP/Calcutta & 46 Major Training Institutes.

Objectives • Eliminate the need to move paper documents between different offices • Change from ‘Periodic Reporting’ to ‘Information on Demand’

• Expedite & facilitate quick & efficient automatic status update between Railway Board & Zonal Railways

• To have internet access at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkata.

• Capability to monitor & control usage of RAILNET & Internet.

• Expedite & facilitate quick & efficient automatic status updates between Railway Board Zonal Railways. Problems With Transfer Of Messages & Files

• Manual system of transfer of messages & files are time consuming & unbelievably slow.

• Sometime the messages are illegible (due to poor photocopy quality or poor hand writing)

• The messages sometimes do not reach the concerned person.

• Sender is not sure whether the message has reached the correct person.


Following are the sub components under OAEW:

• E Working System (Electronic file Movement and Tracking)

• Comprehensive Payroll Processing System for DLW Varanasi

• Financial Accounting System (FAS) for CRIS

• Material Management Information Systems

• Railway Budget Compilation System (RBCS)

• Vigilance Software System (VSS)

E - working system is a web-based application that provides for automation of the functions of all the departments / offices. It provides an effective electronic office management system that encompasses diverse business requirements like File Management, Document Management, and Knowledge Management. It provides a user-friendly intuitive interface for the users to accomplish the various tasks.

Interdepartmental Processes The system provides electronic form based processing for the following processes. All these processes interface with external systems like PRIME, AFRES and MMIS. .

Payroll System is a comprehensive Bilingual package which generates monthly salary bills including payslips in Hindi. It takes input from different small sub-modules. The modules which it interacts with are as follows:

Financial Accounting System (FAS) is a comprehensive package covering day to day activities, like Registration of different kinds of bills, passing of bills, Generating Cash Abstract etc. which are performed in accounts department daily. After payment of bills through Cash Abstract, vouchers are created at the same time of saving / Confirming of cash abstract. There are options for entering/ modifying Journal Vouchers and Bank Receipt Vouchers also. All these steps create base information which is, then, compiled to create different statutory reports like Cash-Book, and Trial Balance and different other MIS reports/enquiries.

MMIS is a integrated Computerized System for Stores Department of Indian Railways and has been developed using centralized system architecture using J2EE Open Source Environment. This is planned to be implemented on Zonal Data Centres of IR to cater the entire requirement of that Zonal Railways

Railway Budget Compilation System (RBCS) is a package for collecting the budgetary inputs from all the zones/units of the Indian Railways. The package provides for collection of data and building of a database, analysis of demands and pruning of the estimates for inclusion in the budget. Apart from the MIS reports the package leads to printing of the budget documents in Bilingual – Hindi and English. The package takes care of both earning and expenditure. Under expenditure, it covers plan as well as maintenance expenditure.

Vigilance Software System (VSS) maintains information about vigilance cases / complaints. This system includes various reports & forwarding letters generated by Vigilance Department & keeping track of Receipt & Dispatch.


Case Study: Unique Railway Solution

The problem was One of the largest railway companies in North America was losing accountability of fuel between trucks being loaded at various fuel terminals and eventually unloaded at their rail yards where their locomotives are refuelled. The railway buys fuel from a number of terminal operators who are also FOIS terminal automation system customers, including Suncor and ExxonMobil, but the company had little ability to track individual truckloads of fuel between their load points and their unloading in their rail yard. Invoices for those loads arrived days later with minimal association and accountability between the loaded invoiced amounts and what was actually unloaded. The railway company wasn’t sure what inventory it should have at any moment, and there was little accounting for discrepancies. The disparity over fuel loads was further aggravated by their need to often divert loaded, inbound fuel trucks to remote locations to meet locomotives in need of immediate refueling. They needed more detailed information about those transferred loads, including how much fuel was unloaded from the trucks, and they needed the information immediately.

The Solution: Enter FOIS Systems. We seemed like a natural fit since our hardware and software was in many cases responsible for loading the railway company’s trucks. So we visited their offices to learn more about their needs, and designed a customized solution that both delivered fuel accountability, as well tracking spur-of-the-moment remote locomotive refuelling.

One of FOIS Systems’ many strengths in terminal automation is our depth of knowledge in high value fuel transfer, and by using our knowledgeable Professional Services consultants we successfully constructed the railway company’s challenge into a FOIS-guided solution that tracked fuel between the trucks being loaded and the eventual refuelling of locomotives. Using our flexible software, the company was able to receive near-real time invoices, allowing them to optimize and intelligently schedule payables and accurately reconcile what arrived at their rail yards with what was initially loaded in the trucks. By installing FOIS’s mobile version of MultiLoad, we provisioned their fuel trucks with the power of our load rack automation system, wirelessly connected to the company’s FOIS servers, to track and report remote fuelling of locomotives.

The Result: The FOIS solution gave the company an accurate accountability of their fuel inventory, and captured the necessary data to quickly and accurately reconcile their fuel by using FOIS’s standard products including BPA and MultiLoad, and new, innovative products such as MultiLoad Mobile and FOIS’s Unified Automation Platform for cloud-based data management. FOIS Engagement Manager James Imhoff summed up the project, “This project is a great example of partnership and teamwork between our customer and FOIS Systems.”


Managenent Information System plays a vital role not only in a particular field, it provides various kinds of solutions and services to the various problems prevailing in many fields. Indian Railways exploits information technology at the maximum extent. It uses the information technology in an efficient way for providing better passenger services. The online reservation system and unreserved ticketing system helps to solve the every day problems of the world biggest Indian Railway network.


[1] G. Raghuram, “Turnaround of Indian Railways: A Critical Appraisal of Strategies and Processes”, W.P. No.2007-02-03, Feb 2007, IIMA

[2] Raghuram, G., Verma, S., Dixit, K. L., and Kapshe, “Strategies for Improving Indian Railways Market Share of Port Based Coal Traffic”,10th World Conference on Transportation Research, Istanbul, Turkey. May 2004

[3] Raghuram, G., Verma, S., Dixit K. L., and Kapshe S. “Strategies for Improving Indian Railways’ Market Share of Port Based Coal Traffic: A Diagnostic Study” 37th Annual Convention of Operational Research Society of India, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India. January 9 -11, 2005

[4] Moody, P.; Clayton, P.; Henderson, A. “Advances in Railway Communication Systems”. Digest of Papers (Ref. No. 1997/401), IEEE 1/1 - 1/5, 11 Dec 1997

[5] Udyog Bhawan, “Railway India”, Investment Promotion and Infrastructure Development Cell, 2005.

[6] Sanjay Nayyar1, Vinayshil Gautam and M.P. Gupta1, “Information Systems Planning: Indian Railways Experience”, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, 2008.

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