It is heartening to see that Indian Railways embracing technology. In last 12 to 18 months or so they have launched web and mobile apps that have helped travelers with ticket bookings etc.
Now, Indian Railways has gone ahead and launched National Train Enquiry System or NTES app on Windows platform. Available on both Desktop Windows store as well as Windows phone mobile store this new app developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the information and technology arm of railways. The NTES app has been developed with support from Microsoft.
NTES is essentially the railway’s backend system which provides information on train schedules and timing on real-time basis. However, this information was currently available to consumers through nation-wide unique rail enquiry number 139 or through enquiry counters & display boards on train stations. Indian Railways also has a NTES website, that offered the same information.
Now, with new NTES Windows app, travelers can themselves check various things on the move like schedule of their train, current position and expected time of arrival and departure at a particular station.
The app is quite intuitive and is simple to use for even a novice user. It has a feature called “Spot your train” where user has to just put the train number and select the date and station. The app will then tell the user where the train is currently in real-time. Also, other information like whether the train is going to be late, it’s departure time is shown to the user.
The app also provides information on various cancelled, diverted and rescheduled trains, so they are get information before hand.
It is interesting to note that Windows platform has got most love from Indian Railways where they have launched official IRCTC ticket booking app exclusively as well, even though Android and iOS have lot more users.
In our view, it is not like Windows is their favored platform, rather it is Microsoft who have helped them to develop these apps to a large extent. Microsoft has been trying to spruce up their app store for quite sometime now. They understand that in India, there is no better channel to gain users other than Indian Railways which is used by millions of Indians on daily basis.
I would not be surprised if Microsoft had their own teams develop the entire app for Indian Railways at no cost. They derive much greater indirect benefits from having official Indian Railways app on their platform.
Note: We searched for this app on Desktop Windows store and we could not find any. Probably, the Windows store has not yet been updated!