[UPDATE: Unfortunately, Inexplicably, Sadly, they have shelved this awesomeness of Railyatri Railradar Maps and replaced it with a bland, utilitarian and boring interface with no map. This is so sad. I wonder what made them do this. Railradar was the best thing that had ever happened to Indian Railways on the Internet! And it was a lot of fun! Guess I rejoiced too soon :(]
[UPDATE 2: The map interface is up and working again at Railytari's home website, but now the map shows only the scheduled routes of the trains and NOT their live running status. The position at where the train is shown it is, is where it should be and NOT where it is. To know that, you should still go to the NTES website.]
Imagine that there was a (Google) map of India which shows the present live location in real-time of ALL trains or any one train you are looking for currently running in India by means of dots, lines and arrows, just like the ones seen in rail controller’s offices in TV shows and films like Unstoppable, The Taking of Pelham 123 or that Japanese classic, The Bullet Train. Also imagine that the map will show you the running status of all trains, their route, stops and origins and destinations. And this map is interactive, zoom in and out-able and plain vanilla. Done imagining? Now make the wish! Poof!! Your wish has been granted!! At least mine) Can you believe how awesome this is? OK, I am getting ahead of the story. Want to see where a train on the Indian Railway’s network is right now? Click on this link below:
Stunning, isn’t it?? This is by far the coolest thing I have came across in recent times! This is an Indian Railways’ online real-time train tracking website! It has a full screen Google map that shows you the present live location and running status of ALL trains running anywhere in India. It also shows the direction in which the train is traveling and also shows if the train is running late or on time by means of arrows. All those scurrying ant-like things are arrows! Zoom deep, deep in to find the exact location where the train is right now!
If you are one of those ”technology companies will save the world!” hacks who want the Indian Railways to ‘outsource’ their working to some “awesome” American software companies, keep your hair on before jumping for joy. Because, this is NOT a Google Service! You might feel cheated but this is a Government of India, Ministry of Railways initiative! Damn brilliant! After online booking, now you can find your trains exactly where they are right now! This is the holy grail of information dissemination! Just by scrolling along the map you can see what train is running where in the country! You can find:
- All trains represented across India as little arrows which point in the direction the train is running
- A Blue arrow means the train is on time and a Red arrow means the train is running late
- Hover over an arrow to see what train it represents in a label with number and name of the train
- Click on the arrow and the route of the train will be drawn across the map in yellow
- The route already covered by the train will be shown as a solid yellow line
- The route to be covered will be shown in dashed yellow lines.
Clicking on a train’s arrow will also open a popup box which will show the train’s full name and number, the day it started from its originating station, the last station it passed (where the running status was updated), next scheduled stop of the train, how late the train is or if it is running on time, a link to display the latest status of the train (which will point to Trainenquiry), links to display all stops of the train which will be shown as blue circles along the yellow line and a link to mark the train as a favorite. There are some screenshots below.
Of course, you can scroll, zoom in and zoom out on the map, search for a particular train or station and there is a counter on top which shows the total number of trains running as of now and what percentage of those trains running are on time.
Awesomeness. Just select the map and choose a train on a major route and see all trains running along that line and to see how closely trains are running behind each other, notice how all trains in a sector are running late or just zoom out to get a broad view of the sheer size of the Indian Railways! Whoa! I am having as much fun as a kid left in a candy store right now!
(PS: Google has got nothing to do with this, they just lent their map. It may be hard to believe but yes, this is an initiative of the Railways, or more exactly, Indian Railways Center for Railway Information System (CRIS) and the startup website RailYatri.in! Yes, a fully homegrown initiative! Now this does make me proud! Kudos CRIS and Rail Yatri, Awesome Work!)