IntroductionThe travel industry in India has been growing at a fast pace. Inspite of the availability of a large number of options, train travel seems to be the most trusted and preferred mode. An estimated 24 million people travel by train on any given day. So, absence of proper planning could be a cause for a lot of hardships. One of the most possible reasons being, not able to get the right information at the right time. This is where mobile apps designed for this sole purpose come to our rescue.
There are plenty of apps available for Android aiming to provide railway information, however, not all of them are user friendly. Most of them don't have their own tracking system, they just lead you to the official websites. Here are a few authentically original and trustworthy apps that can help you plan your travel better.
1. NTESThis is the first ever official app from Indian Railways. CRIS - Centre for Railway Information Systems - has recently launched the app for Android and Windows phones. The app aims to to provide real time status information about all trains in India.
The app is pretty small in size and supported on Android 2.3 and above. So most of the Android devices out there are supported. The app is quite basic in nature, but it does everything is meant to do. You can easily search for the real time status of your train.
The app uses National Train Enquiry System servers for updating the status of trains. You can also obtain up to date information of the cancelled and diverted trains.
Being from the official source, this can be treated as the most trusted among the lot. I even tested it at my nearest railway station at Madgaon - Goa, and found it to be absolutely correct. However, additional functionalities available on the third party apps are missing on it.
2. Rail YatriThis app from Stelling Technologies is my all time favourite. One must say this is the ultimate railway app. It has some nifty and creative features like route changes, new train launches at your location and detailed information about the surrounding areas of a station among others.
The app has its own train info tracking system and as such provides most accurate real time status about almost any train. The data is regularly updated with the timely alerts on newer trains introduced for your location. Once you check your train and set it as your favourite, you get real time updates and alerts about any route changes, cancellations and delays pertaining to your train. The app uses GPS locator to find out real time location of your train. You can add your favourite trains, stations and routes for future reference. You can also set a multiple of your regular travels as favourites so that you keep getting updates.
One of the best features I like with RailYatri is the section called Rail Wisdom. It gives you useful information about the location your train is at right now. You can also search for the station of your choice and find such information about the station.
3. IXIGO trains and HotelsThis is one of the most comprehensive apps available for Android. It consists of all the info you need while planning a journey.
It has everything you need to know about trains and travel. You can check your PNR status easily on the app. Ixigo also lets you know about cancellations and diversions. What appeals the most is its classy and great interface with icons and colors which are very convenient to use. You can check train availability 6 days prior to the actual journey.
The app allows you to book your tickets via IRCTC website from within. You are given the option to check seat/berth maps to find the best one for you. Besides providing total info on all trains, related info like timetable, running status and booking/cancelling tickets among others are also provided. This unique app also lets you find the cheapest and best hotels at your destination. It can actually help you as a total trip planner.
4. IRCTC connectThis is another official app from Indian Railways. Coming from IRCTC itself, it currently offers basic features, but with frequent updates that are coming up recently, we can get additional functionality in the upcoming versions.
The app can be used to search for and book train tickets. You can cancel tickets as you would on the IRCTC web portal. It also provides upcoming journey alerts.
The app is available for Android 4.1 and above, so people with lower older phones may not be able to use it. You need to have your IRCTC credentials to use the app. However you can create a new account directly from the app.
The app is still basic in nature and needs a lot of development. Proper sync is also needed between the website and app so that one can access his IRCTC account seamlessly across web version and mobile app.
5. M-IndicatorThis is a special application for Mumbaikars. It provides up to date guide of Mumbai local trains, bus routes, autorikshaw and taxi fare rates.
It is a must have application for all those living in Mumbai. From being a local train info service, it is now evolving into a complete Mumbai information app. The app now also provides complete information about movies being playing around the city, or nearby locations. The recent update has brought into its purview Nataks (Dramas) in Marathi, Hindi or Gujarati that are being enacted at local theatres. Apart from local trains, this app also lists the bus service by BEST and other local bus services. You can search for bus routes, or route based on the bus number. In fact, not only bus, it also offers you info on the taxi fares for various destinations around Mumbai.
M-Indicator also provides Indian railway PNR status for your booked tickets. It gives on the dot information on the megablocks (Mumbaikars are very much familiar with this word) usually scheduled on Sundays.
Recent update to the app has added many more interesting features like listing of current movie shows and a classified section for jobs and properties. You also have access to maps and important contact numbers in case you need any help. On similar lines with RailYatri it gives info on picnic spots around Mumbai.
And the crowning glory is the fact that this app does NOT need Internet access!
The apps described above are unique in their own right and have their own merits in terms of usability, features and interface. Though I would rate Rail Yatri and IXIGO Trains and Hotels as the best among all of them, there is a special aura of being Official apps for IRCTC Connect and NTES. Play store also has many more apps catering to this genre, but I would rate these as the Top 5 Railway Information apps.
Read RailYatri.in review- Platform detail, live GPS location, alerts subscription and more!
Timmappa Kamat is a technology enthusiast. He has an active interest in newer technological developments. He is fond of new gizmos & gadgets. He loves to share his knowledge through tech-savvy websites as a freelancer. A Mechanical Engineer by profession, he is equally interested in blogging, with his own blog. He wants to carve a name for himself in blogging arena one day! If you need any clarifications about his articles,please respond here below or get in touch with him through his profile.
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