In a move to improve the railways’ slower manual system and provide exact train timings, a GPS-enabled device fitted in trains will let passengers track their train on a real-time basis. The Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has asked all 16 railway zones in India to adopt the new system, called real-time punctuality monitoring and analysis (RPMA), to make sure punctuality and protection.
In the initial phase, the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes by February-end and complete the whole country in later phases. Talking about the current national train inquiry system (NTES), it is based on manual entry data by train controllers. A railway source said that “If a train passes, let’s say Ghaziabad at 8.30am, the station master informs the controller who makes an entry into the system and this gets reflected in the NTES”. The new device was examined in the Mughalsarai division in October in association with MapmyIndia, which is a private entity. The Mughalsarai divisional railway manager Kishor Kumar described that “The system keeps plotting the train on the map and on the speed chart. The station locations are pre-fed and plotted on the map and the speed chart in addition to the cautions”.
He added that the speed chart will let officials know if a train is running at the maximum allowable speed, excess controlling by the drivers at cautions, extra stoppage, signal checks and late start. The manually driven NTES data were not accurate, as per Railway sources. If a train starts late by half an hour, the station master might not inform the controller about the delay. Officials tend to overlook delays to show a good punctuality record,” one of the sources said.