Real-time Train Information System, Indian Railways, ISRO: Basics Explained

To enhance the security and comfort of train journeys, Indian Railways has partnered with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the space organization of India. The project is termed as Real-time Train Information System (RTIS) and currently it is executed by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).

ISRO has launched GSAT satellites that have GAGAN payloads for tracking the movement of trains and relaying that information down to the Central Location Server (CLS) of CRIS. The information that the satellite sends is almost real time and very accurate. The same information is passed on using enterprise service BUS in CRIS’ data center to the National Train Enquiry System (NTES). From there on, NTES feeds that information to all the public information dissemination systems be it websites, mobile apps, the 139 railway helpline number, or any other medium.

The most helpful feature of this system is that the information from satellites goes automatically to all those systems which fetch data from NTES. Thus, passengers or railway customers also are now able to get accurate train running information in real time. In December 2016, MoU was signed between CRIS and Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO for this project. 


ISRO: It was established with it’s headquarter at Bangalore in 1969. It functions under overall control of department of space.K. Sivan; the current Chairman of Space Commission, Secretary, Department of Space, Government of India.

A geosynchronous orbitis an orbit around the Earth, where the object orbits once per day. A common kind of geosynchronous orbit is called a geostationary orbit, where the object orbits above the same part of the Earth at all times. Geostationary satellites are launched into orbit in the same direction the Earth is spinning. When the satellite is in orbit at a specific altitude, it will exactly match the rotation of the Earth. The Earth actually takes 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09 seconds to make one full revolution. So this would put the satellite at approximately 35,790 km above the Earth.

This is an extremely useful type of orbit and is used for anything where a satellite needs to send or receive signals from the same part of the Earth all the time. It’s used for cell phone satellites, television satellites, weather satellites, as well as some military satellites.

GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation – GAGAN as a satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) for the Indian airspace.

To meet the positioning, navigation and timing requirements of the nation, ISRO has established a regional navigation satellite system called Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC). NavIC was erstwhile known as Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

NavIC is designed with a constellation of 7 satellites and a network of ground stations operating 24 x 7. Three satellites of the constellation are placed in geostationary orbit,

Though primarily meant for aviation, GAGAN will provide benefits to many other user segments such as intelligent transportation, maritime, highways, railways, surveying,

geodesy, security agencies, telecom industry, personal users of position location applications etc.


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