FAIRLIE PLACE, KOLKATA: The Computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS), Kolkata, one of the oldest PRS of Indian Railways, has started on 7th November, 1987. After evolving through different stages, Kolkata PRS is now celebrating the completion of glorious 30 years of successful and dedicated service to the passengers and has emerged as one of the largest commercial networks of computer hardware, software and database in the world. It has also taken a giant leap into the unreserved ticketing sector, which was first installed at the data centre of Kolkata PRS in 2004.
Kolkata PRS now serves six zones viz. Eastern, South Eastern, East Coast, South East Central, East Central and Northeast Frontier Railway, having nearly 754 trains in its database and connected to nearly 1059 PRS locations with almost 2500 counters. These PRS counters have spread over 16 states and one Union Territory – Andaman and Nicobar Islands having four working PRS (Port Blair, Car Nicobar, Diglipur AC Office and Port Blair Defence). PRS at Thegu, Sikkim is located at the highest altitude (14000 ft.) It is the only PRS in the country where the networking equipment is kept on a heat-plate, heated by burning coal.
Speaking on the occasion, Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway said that disaster recovery management for the data centre of Kolkata PRS is already in place. Any site including Kolkata PRS can migrate to disaster recovery site at Secunderabad. He further said that presently Eastern Railway has 71 UTS-cum-PRS locations while PRS Kolkata now caters to 39, Kolkata based PRS locations. When Railways first inter-country passenger train services, Maitree Express between Kolkata and Bangladesh was started, Kolkata PRS was ready with a new set of infrastructure. Based on the good response and valuable experience after the grand success of Maitree Express, Indo-Bangla Bandhan Express has also been incorporated in the system.
Rao further said that to provide passengers hassle free service instead of standing in long queue, Railways has arranged brand agents for selling tickets as a foolproof and secure way of proliferating PRS & UTS counters. Presently, there are 133 Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendras (YTSK) and 3 Jan Sadharan Ticketing Booking Seva (JTBS) operating in Eastern Railway. The introduction of coin based automatic ticket vending machine (ATVM) and cash-coin operated (COTVM) has earned outstanding patronage with 106 ATVMs and 75 COTVMs functioning over Eastern Railway.
Rao finally said that since its inception, Kolkata PRS has been in the forefront of technology, innovation, increasing the expectations of passengers and unceasingly working to satisfy their demands. As the paperless ticket coming into being, reservation of berth can now be made with a cell phone (m-ticket). Sudhir Agrawal, additional general manager, S. S. Gehlot, principal chief commercial manager, Eastern Railway were also present among other principal officers. Sanjoy Mukherjee, retired finance commissioner, Railway Board, was also present on the occasion.