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Digitalisation & Advancements in Indian Railways

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Creating an innovative environment and user-friendly mobility system is one of the top global transportation expansion priorities. Rail transportation is recognised as an essential component of this process. Meanwhile, revolutionary progress in the business environment spurred by ICT technology necessitates an update of erstwhile business strategies and procedures used by rail operators. A thorough understanding of digital transformation is required for expanding rail transport in today’s economy. Digitalisation, as a continual cycle of physical and virtual world convergence, is linked to cyber-physical systems and is responsible for the creation and transformation of several economic sectors. The Internet of Things, cloud computing, advanced and extensive data analytics, mechanisation, intelligent machines and automation are the major technologies and solutions that have propelled digital transformation in the railway sector. 

The advent of the concept of Industry 4.0, as well as, more recently, Railway 4.0 and digital railway, clearly characterises the transformation to the modern requirements of the digital economy. The primary areas identified by the Indian railways for digital transformation include collaboration with technology and logistics partners for technological advancements, passenger-friendly applications, application integration for a cooperative Indian railways platform, freight consumer convenience, data analytics, cashless commerce, dashboards and alerts, and mobile applications. The Indian Railways has digitalised all of its services, including passenger data systems, passenger car manufacturing mechanisation, predictive maintenance, train signalling, ground control systems, procurement, and unreserved ticketing methodologies. The Indian railways have set up the Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS) associated with ISRO for computerised chart preparation and passenger train data. Nearly three thousand electric locomotives with more than 3800 diesel locomotives have been outfitted with Remmlot, helping in automated management charting for more than 6500 locomotives. The remaining locomotives shall also be outfitted with RTIS equipment over due course of time. 

Automated unreserved tickets are made available to passengers at rest stations via Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals. The process takes place through the nearest node station. Indian Railways is modernising its signal system by implementing the Modern Train Control system with a Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) system. In order to boost productivity, the railways have introduced Industry 4.0 in modern passenger car plants. Indian railways is now also using drone-mounted cameras and 3D scanning of river bottoms to inspect bridges, with plans to use drones for rail maintenance in the future.

Indian railways has completed end-to-end digitalisation of procurement procedures. All processes, including request processing, on-demand generation, tender publication, tender finalisation, preparation and issuance of letters of approval, agreements, and changes, an assessment of material by RITES, specialised evaluation of proposals, accountability of supplies, online receipt and processing of dealer’s accounts, and delivery of material to consignees, are now digital. All of which have great advantages when it comes to procurement and assessment. The Indian Railways have been consistently enhancing its procedures and deploying new technologies and systems that meet worldwide benchmarks and regulations. Long-term objectives include improving functional implementation and consumer satisfaction.

It is important to remember that Indian Railways has the world’s fourth-largest rail grid, trailing only the United States, Russia, and China. The railways has around 128,305 kilometres of total track across a 68,103 km route and approximately 7,325 stations (until March 31, 2022). With about 1.3 million employees, Indian Railways is the single largest employer in the country and the eighth-largest in the world. It is divided into 18 zones and has the world’s fourth-largest freight traffic. The Indian Railways is a lifeline for over 25 million people who use it on a daily basis. 

 

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