From March 1, there will be no paper reservation charts in train coaches and railway stations as the Railway Ministry is launching a pilot project which will replace all physical reservation charts with electronic charts.

Do you remember, just before boarding the train, how the people, especially elders would crane their necks, and run their index finger, from left to right, on the chart stuck to the side of the carriage? On finding the name, they then had to check the seat number on the next column, and the age, sex, etc. All this, while keeping their finger or line of sight, on that line! India is digitalising, eventually, so to match-up with the modernisation, the Indian Railways has come up with a new idea. So if you were bothered by the tiresome process of looking up in physical reservation charts to locate your seats in train coaches, well, the system has finally come to an end – as of now.

The Indian Railways Minister Piyush Goyal announced that the Railway Ministry will implement a pilot project on railway stations and train coaches which will replace the physical reservation charts with electronic charts. Why? Because it costs lakhs and lakhs of money to print those paper charts and put them up all across thousands of railway stations and trains in the country – every single day – hundreds of times. It is utter waste of money, utter waste of paper and it is just very tedious job. So by digitalising reservation charts, the Indian Railways will save money, will save paper – and hence trees, and will go high-tech all at the same time. Statistically, this move will save 28 tonnes of charting paper, worth approximately around Rs 1.70 lakh, a year.

From March 1, passengers will be able to check information regarding their respective coach and berth number at centralised locations in all railway stations, and with travelling ticket examiners. However, the e-charts will be implemented only for A1, A & B category stations as the part of the initial pilot project which will last for 6 months. All these stations will display electronic charts on plasma displays which are already installed and are functioning properly. After six months, if the e-chart step is well received, it will then be extended to all A1, A, B, C, D, E and F categories or railway stations which are categorised based on their income.