The Indian Railways is the largest operating railway in the world, with 65,000 km of route, 7,500 stations, and 25 million passengers and 2.8 millions tons of freight carried daily. Executing the 10,000 daily trains runs of the Indian Railways are its 60,000+ loco pilots and 40,000+ guards.

The management of these 100,000 trained workmen is important for the overall health of the Indian Railways. These workers have erratic work schedules, yet they operate very heavy and dangerous equipment. Therefore their health, alertness, training and general well being are of the utmost concern. At the same time, it is important to optimally utilise this experienced workforce.

This is where the Crew Management System, developed jointly by CRIS and Thinvent, comes into play. This centralised software takes care of scheduling, training, and sign on and sign off of these workers. It provides an interface for communicating technical issues (such as problems in the track or locomotive) as well as personal issues (leave application, grievances). Finally, it ensures the security of the Railways by mandating bio-metric authentication of each work before and after their shift, and testing them for the consumption of alcohol.

The challenge for Thinvent was to develop a 24×7×365 system that is easy to use for people unfamiliar with computers, yet robust and full of features, enough to facilitate their migration from existing paper based systems.


  • Touch screen kiosk interface
  • Indian language support
  • Web and SMS interface
  • Completely Linux based solution
  • Bio-metric authentication of users
  • Alcohol breath test on sign-on and sign-off from duty
  • Clustering and high availability of servers
  • 500+ locations across India. 24×7 operation.

Products Used

  • Linux based firmware for thin clients and kiosks with heavy GUI customisation.
  • Bio-metric authentication with excellent FRR, FAR and local caching of IDs.
  • Customised breath analyser hardware and software for automated testing.
  • High throughput SMS interface on servers.
  • Remote management through web interface. Centralised updates of thin clients.
  • Clustering, load balancing and centralised monitoring of servers.
  • Business Intelligence tool.

Results: The CMS project is running successfully across the length and breadth of the Indian Railways network. Excellent uptime, high reliability of clients, and cutting edge features, have brought numerous prestigious awards and accolades for the CMS project.

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