Now, trace your train online

Waiting for trains is set to change forever. Using Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN), one would be able to know the location of a train, the speed at which it is moving and the time it will take to reach a particular station in days to come. This live status will not only be displayed on LCD monitors installed at railway stations but will also be available on the Internet.

Developed by IIT Kanpur and Indian Railways' Research Designs & Standards Organisation, Lucknow, under the Technology Mission on Railway Safety, SIMRAN is a train tracking system that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) to collect and disseminate information about the location, speed and direction of trains' movement.

"The train's latitudinal and longitudinal values and speed are picked up by the instrument installed on the train's engine. A similar instrument is fitted on the railway stations on the route. A combination of information from both these instruments is sent to the server computer at IIT Kanpur through a wireless network. There, a software system processes this information, which is put on Indian Railways' network map and uploaded onto the Internet," said IIT Kanpur Director Sanjay G. Dhande. A dedicated website for the purpose is to be activated shortly.

IIT Kanpur has already successfully installed and tested the system on three routes — Kanpur-Allahabad, Kanpur-Lucknow and Chennai-Bangalore. As many as 40 railway stations between Kanpur-Allahabad and 25 stations between Kanpur-Lucknow have already been fitted with the SIMRAN device, which will soon be installed on 51 engines running on the North-Central Railways.

Officials said that railway ministry was keen to implement the system all over the Indian Railway network. IIT Kanpur, which has applied for a patent for the system, will be involved as a technological partner in that exercise.

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