Nearly 3,000 stranded passengers on two Indian Railways trains have been helped by an emergency use of RailTel’s WiFi at stations service. The travellers became stuck on board the Guwahati Express and the Guwahati-Silchar Express trains, after floods hit the area and wiped-out mobile connections. In response, RailTel suspended the OTP needed to connect a mobile phone to the WiFi system, effectively allowing emergency use.
Following a “complete breakdown” of mobile networks in the region RailTel, a company spun-off from Indian Railways, made the special arrangements to enable stranded passengers to contact family and friends via the station WiFi.
Torrential rains had caused massive landslides, which in turn had badly affected all mobile networks in the Lumding-Badarpur hill section in Assam – part of the Lumding railway division of Northeast Frontier Railway. Indian Railways said it also used the station WiFi to help organise and relief and rescue operations.
The train operator said that two trains got stranded in these flash floods, each with about 1,400 people on board. The railway administration launched a massive evacuation operation with the help of the Air Force, the Railway Protection Force (RPF), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Assam Rifles and local officials.
A spokesperson for Indian Railways said, “In this difficult situation, the WiFi facility already available at railway stations provided by RailTel Corporation, proved very useful in providing connectivity. Special arrangements were made for passengers to use station wi-fi to contact their families. The railway administration also used this connectivity facility for organising the relief-and-rescue operation effectively.”
WiFi on board and at stations as well as track-side coverage and new innovations in the rail industry using wireless connectivity will all feature heavily in this year’s Traincomms Conference.
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This year’s Conference is sponsored by Westermo, Nomad, GlobalReach Technology and RADWIN.
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