CRIS has developed various applications to provide cutting-edge technology to IR to support its management, rolling stock, and freight operations. Computerization of services has made bookings easier. Activities such as railway reservation seat availability or checking the PNR status of the booking can be easily done by logging on to the IR website and typing the necessary information. The applications developed by CRIS and its subdivisions have won awards for excellent design and implementation. These applications are not only widespread but also integrated with their other applications to ensure uninterrupted services. For example, their COA (Control Office Application) provides relevant information to the National Train Enquiry System which can be accessed by passengers to know the route and train running updates. The information that is stored in COA is also supplied to FOIS operations, which means that there is an internal cooperation between these applications in CRIS. FOIS (Freight Operations Information System) is one of the most essential applications developed by CRIS.
- 900 million tonnes of freight in a year are transported by trains on the IR network. The requirement to accommodate this transport is 5000 freight trains daily. The freight trains are essential for IR because they bring in two-thirds of the revenue and are considered as bread winners for the IR.
- Commodities that are transported through the freight network includes coal, iron ore, food grains, iron & steel, petroleum products, fertilizers, cement, and containerized traffic.
- Some of these items are perishable, hence special care is required while transporting them. That is why there are special wagons to transport these commodities.
- Freight trains don’t work on a fixed schedule like passenger trains. They don’t have train lists that are put up along with the train numbers. This makes it an information dependent activity. Information about these trains is procured and placed, which is later used by managers to make decisions that optimally use resources such as wagons, locomotives, crew, and paths on the network. The information is acquired with real time situations which increases mobility of resources and ensures informed decision making.
- FOIS was the first of the many projects CRIS had undertaken. CRIS was formulated and established to design and implement this project in the mid-80s. This project has special significance in the eyes of the CRIS team members.
- The project initially commenced as an application that tracked the movement of wagons, locomotives, and unit trains. After many changes and technological developments, the project has culminated into a complete management sphere that handles activities ranging from managing freight trains to handling billing and revenue collection as well. The complete computerization of freight operations enables optimised asset utilisation, enhances freight movement, and generates freight invoices. An online payment gateway interfaced with FOIS has been provided to IR’s big-shot freight customers to enable secure and clean transactions. 72% of freight revenue is procured online.
- Wagon productivity has majorly increased with the help of this project. The careful management of these trains helps in transporting perishable goods to the correct destination safely. Enhanced productivity and customer service are the objectives of this project to meet the rapidly growing needs of the economy.