ISRO Satellites to Track Live Status of Indian Railways, 2649 Trains Installed with Software So Far

ISRO satellites are capable of tracking the status of 2649 Indian trains that have been installed with real-time train information system (RTIS)

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ISRO in collaboration with the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), which is an Information Technology arm of Ministry of Railways, has installed real-time train information system (RTIS) in 2649 passenger and goods train locomotives until 20 November 2019. This information was conveyed by Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, in the Rajya Sabha last week, according to a PIB release.


The RTIS is capable of automatic acquisition of train movement data, including that of arrival, departure and run-through timings at the stations en route. The control chart of trains hauled by RTIS enabled locomotives gets plotted automatically in the Control Office Application (COA) system already implemented in the control offices.

RTIS also gives mid-section location updates, including the current speed of the train, with a periodicity of 30 seconds. The Train Controllers can now track the location and speed of RTIS enabled locomotives or trains more closely, without any manual intervention, facilitating the train control functions, adds the release.

The trials for the RTIS system using GSAT series satellite of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) were done on New Delhi to Guwahati and New Delhi to Mumbai Rajdhani routes jointly by CRIS and Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO. The trials were done to ascertain the overall workability of the system, assessment of S/C bandwidth required on GSAT transponders and for finalization of system design and specifications for the rollout.


Several successful trial runs were done prior to the system roll out on Indian Railways, which has over 5500 electric locomotives, 6500 diesel locomotives and 3000 Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs), Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs), or Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DMUs). Furthermore, about 600 locomotives are added every year, says the CRIS website.

How the RTIS System by ISRO and CRIS Works

  1. The application software installed in the locomotives determines train movements at stations based on pre-defined logic applied on spatial coordinates and speed received continuously from GAGAN receiver.
  2. Position or location of the trains will be communicated to a Central Location Server (CLS) using the S-Band Mobile Satellite Service (S-MSS) of ISRO as well as 4G/3G mobile data service.
  3. The CLS processes the received data from the software and relays it to the Control Office Application (COA) for automatic plotting of control charts.
  4. The COA, which is already integrated with the National Train Enquiry System (NTES), will then generate accurate real-time information for passengers.