Trains are a part of daily life of most of the people in India. For longer journeys trains are preferred way of travel as Air travel is not affordable for major population. It is one of the world’s largest railway networks. According to data available on Wikipedia, Indian Railway Network comprised of 65000 km route and 7500 stations. Around 25 million people (more than Australia population) are carried by more than 10000 trains on daily basis. Advance train seat/birth reservation is must for most journeys. Seats can be booked 60 days in advance (recently reduced from 120 days w.e.f. May 1, 2013) at reservations counters as well as online via Internet. There are many trains available from source to destination and passengers have to find which train has the available seats before booking.
Indian Railway has two main websites for train reservation (IRCTC) and seat availability enquiry (IndianRail). Although both of these websites are very good for serving the purpose but these are not very user-friendly. Most of the time these websites function very slow due to heavy load which makes whole process of seat availability enquiry very frustrating. Also, there is no option to view seat availability in all trains in one screen. Someone looking for seat availability has to check all trains one by one on the route which is very lengthy process. But very recently I discovered Indian Rail App when I saw one of my friend using it for train seat availability.
Indian Rail App is a web application which presents complete information only in one screen. You have to provide Source Station, Destination Station, Date of Journey and Class and rest of the work is taking care of by the application itself. Information has been divided into two parts. First part shows information related to all the trains available between source and destination stations. This information includes train name/number, departure time, arrival time, travel time, days of run and classes available. Second part is the most interesting one and which is what we are actually looking for. It has two views Extended and Collapsed. Extended view is same like Indian Railway website so we are interested mainly in Collapsed view. It presents a calendar or table kind of view which shows Trains in rows and Journey Date in columns. Availability is being presented in all the cells of the table. Apart from the mentioned journey date, availability is shown for next five days as well. Last column shows the fare for the journey. Green cell color denotes that seats are available for particular journey date. For checking seats availability in another class there is no need to start the whole process from starting. You just have to select the desired class from the options given and the table will be filled again with seats available for the particular class.
Best part of this application is that, unlike official websites, speed of fetching and showing information is very fast. Advanced web technologies have been used in developing the application so that there is no need for complete page refresh every time. Only the required portion is being refreshed based upon the input given by user. In fact, each row of the table is being loaded individually so that user does not need to wait for complete page loading. The application has been developed in a very intelligent way. Not much information is available on the website about the application. Just a Email and LinkedIn profile link of application developer has been provided in contact information. It has been developed by Rahul Goyal, ex-student of IIT Kanpur.
So next time, when you are checking train seats availability, use Indian Rail App. If you find this post useful, Please give your valuable feedback via comments.