This project aims at giving details of an Online Railway Reservation Utility which facilitates the Railway customers to manage their reservations online, and the Railway administrators to modify the backend databases in a User-Friendly manner.
The Customers are required to register on the server for getting access to the database and query result retrieval. Upon registration, each user has an account which is essentially the ‘view level’ for the customer. The account contains comprehensive information of the user entered during registration and permits the customer to get access to his past reservations, enquire about travel fare and availability of seats, make afresh reservations, update his account details, etc.
The Railway Administrator is the second party in the transactions. The administrator is required to login using a master password, once authenticated as an administrator, one has access and right of modification to all the information stored in the database at the server. This includes the account information of the customers, attributes and statistics of stations, description of the train stoppages and physical description of coaches, all the reservations that have been made, etc. The railway administrator has the right to modify any information stored at the server database.
Need for Computerized Online Railway Reservation
Indian Railways is the principal mode of transport in the country. It is one of the world’s largest rail networks under a single management. The route length is around 63,332 km with more than 8000 stations . As it is the backbone of nation’s transport system, IR owns more than 25,000 wagons, 45,000 different types of coaches and 8000 locomotives. The system carries about 5,000 million passengers generating a traffic output of 340 billion passenger kms The seat/ berth reservation on trains is pretty complex activity, not only because of the volumes involving around lac seats/ berth reservations per day, but also because of several different categories of trains operating, using some 72 types of coaches with seven classes of reservation, more than 40 types of quotas and more than 80 kinds of concessional tickets . The method of calculation of fare is also quite complex as charges are based on distance, comfort level and transit time. Also there were many infirmities with the manual system like the current status did not get updated, it was slow and time consuming, inadvertent errors and malpractices in reservation were there . Because of the complexity and sheer volumes involved, there was a need for development of computerized reservation system. Some Problems with the System But according to a recent report, there are some deficiencies with design necessitating manual interventions during program terminations and link failures. There were some issues regarding current day reservation systems and reservation for immediate stations.
The coaching refund system was not integrated .And there were some deficiencies both in physical access and logical access controls. General controls comprising system documentation, sound IT security practices, change management and structured disaster recovery policy were inadequate. There were deficiencies both in physical access and logical access controls. The total number of users with supervisory privileges was very high and booking clerks were also routinely assigned supervisory privileges, creating a risk of possible misuse of the powers associated with the privileges.
The mechanism of change management was inefficient and policy changes were not incorporated in the system software in a timely manner. There was no structured disaster recovery policy and the maintenance and protection of infrastructure as well as the data was inadequate.
Application controls were weak and a number of tickets were booked on fictitious details, indicating bogus/proxy booking in advance and thereby decreasing the availability of seats to genuine passengers.
Validation checks for generation of pre-bought tickets, for journeys involving more than one lap, were weak. The system permitted generation of a zero value ticket for the second lap without generating the ticket for the first lap. Seats/ berths were also blocked for dummy passengers using the pre-bought facility.
The application software did not have validation checks to ensure compliance with the rules governing break journey. Various quotas for accommodation in trains were not properly managed resulting in decrease in availability of seats to the general public; this also resulted in loss of revenue to the Railways.
Fares and distances were incorrectly adopted leading to incorrect levy of fares. The electronic databases contained numerous deficiencies rendering the data unreliable.
Even though allotment of berths was meant to be a zero error process, multiple instances were noticed where the system allotted the same berths to different passengers.
Trains and stations were incorrectly defined in the system thereby preventing reservation of accommodation against them. The status of late running of trains was not set promptly leading to incorrect refunds to passengers.
The internal control mechanism in respect of custody and utilisation of ticket rolls was weak and the ticket rolls were susceptible to misuse.