Indian Railways, the state-owned enterprise operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways, is one of the world's largest railway networks and transports over 25 million passengers daily. To tap the huge scope and potential, several hobbyist developers as well as developer studios have developed mobile apps to provide a variety of functionality to train commuters.
There are a zillion such apps on the Windows Phone Store – some very useful, and some me-too solutions. In this post I pick three of my favorite Windows Phone apps that are a must have on your device if you frequently travel by trains or are travelling to India.
Indian Railway (IRCTC) is the official agency of Ministry of Railways that facilitates train reservations and is one of the top online services in India. The official IRCTC app is a Windows exclusive available only for Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices.
The app allows booking tickets, and checking reservation status, train schedules, train routes, availability of tickets, cancellation, and booking history. The app is beautifully designed, and integrates modern design elements for an intuitive experience. The feature to pin tickets as a Live Tile on your Start screen is a neat addition.
There are a couple of issues as well. One, the app does not work from 8am – 12pm, a limitation enforced to reduce server load during the peak hours. Also, while the booking history syncs across multiple devices, it does not pick bookings made on irctc.co.in.
Download the IRCTC app free for Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8 devices from the Windows Phone Store.
The official app for eRail.in, a third-party service that maintains the largest and most updated database of Indian railways, provides easy access to train information like trains running between two stations, train routes, seat availability, fare information, running status and PNR lookup.
The eRail app works offline for most things like train information that don’t require live data. Download it free for Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8 devices from the Windows Phone Store.
While RailYatri also offers information on train schedule, list of trains between stations, PNR status, and trains scheduled at a station in the next 2 hours, it brings in a couple of neat additions.
Firstly, you can use the 'nearby stations' feature to view nearby railway stations based on your location, so that you can check the trains scheduled in your vicinity. Unfortunately, the app does not provide the running status of trains.
Second, once you mark a train as favorite, the app will program itself to push important alerts about events affecting train travel including disruptions (cancellations, route change, delayed start), hotspots (accident sites, fog, places experiencing heavy rush), and others to your Windows Phone.
Download RailYatri for free for Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8 devices from the Windows Phone Store.
So, there you go. These are the three top apps for train commuters according to me. What are other apps for Indian Railways that you’ve installed on your phone? Tell us in the comments!