Smart Railways

Indian Railways needs a fillip. But can the Railways do it on their own? Nope, no way. They
do not have the technical expertise that can make the transport system truly world class and
even a world leader.
Borrowed technologies we all hear about. Bullet trains, signal systems, braking systems,
remote systems and what not. But they are not going to cut it.
Indian Railways has an entirely different problem. Speed, smartness and affordability has to
go hand in hand. The IRCTC website or app is just a speck in the dirt of what I would want
as a wishlist. It would be probably be, in laymen terms, the Guddi Maruti of the entire
ensemble cast, big but not much else.
So, what do I think should happen:
1. Remote based Track sensing system based on IoT and AI that truly takes care of the
tracks and the eventualities that a complex nationwide system presents.
2. Self contained and self repairable Tracks based on compound metallurgy and AR/VR that
really allows remote works to be done like they do in drones.
3. Railway tower borne surveillance at all important points for better track and train security
at all times at a far lesser cost than putting out people into the lines.
4. Smart kits Track diagnosis and repair to crack teams who can work fast and furious. This
would include remote imaging equipment and IoT Visualization.
5. Carriage Maintenance Planning and Asset Lifecycle systems. This shall be a system that
forecasts usage, routes, maintenance planning, Housekeeping and Facility systems through
a complex Data Analytics system for each coach. It would enable Coach life, Coach
readiness and Customer satisfaction.
6. Station Operations System and Peak Performance Intelligence. Railway stations can go to
the next level. It has the wiring, it has the track systems, what is missing is the
understanding of what the station serves, how much and when. This is close to my heart and
I believe a Station can do things for an average Indian that it has never done before. Check
in, F&B, News, Security, Signage, Alarm, Activity, Marketing, Arrival/Departure systems,
Goods & Storage, Logistics, Ancillary transport, Tourism and Shopping.
7. Smart Ticket Systems and automatic mobile based check ins. The present efforts are truly
15 years behind and even those self – ticket kiosks don’t work.
8. The ability to optimize price the opposite way, charging less for a frequent customer, so
that more travel is encouraged and route optimizations are available at booking stage with
seamless shifts from train to train and coverage of destinations across the nation.
I shall end here today. But there are another 16 ideas that I have for Railways to become the
Nation’s move into the 21st Century actually.

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