S.Rly. commissioning call centre at Central station today

CHENNAI March 30. The Southern Railway would commission the state-of-the-art "Automatic Call Distribution Centre" for passenger enquiries at Chennai Central on Monday.

Touted as the first of its kind in the Indian Railway network, arrival and departure details of trains, fare structure, reservation status, trains for different destinations, information on passenger amenities and summer specials among others will be available by dialling 131.

The caller will be guided by the Interactive Voice Response System, which would respond to the queries. The caller also has the option of speaking to an agent. Other facilities available include an increase in service capacity by way of enhancement in IVRS to 60 ports.

It can recognise, receive and store fax messages and callers also have the choice of receiving documents sent through fax. They can also listen to pre-recorded information.

Further, passengers who do not have a confirmed accommodation can leave behind their telephone number. Once it is confirmed, the news would be passed on to the passenger. An automated computerised passenger grievance recording and processing system also forms part of the services offered by the call centre.

The advanced Computer Telephony Integration in the centre makes the services possible. The Railways handed over the task of setting up the call centre to SPANCO, the company that set up BSNL's first call centre.

Meanwhile, "Tell-a-phone", another automatic enquiry service would also be launched. Passengers can call 25394888 to get information on the expected time of arrival of train at Chennai and its current position, departure time, changes in train timings and information about special trains. Callers have the option of English or Tamil.

Value added services include "dial your food" and booking taxis. Authorities said this service was also the first of its kind using sophisticated technology for providing information to the public on a mass scale using voice recognition.

New rail link

Three months after he made a proposal to provide a passenger train between Villivakkam and Anna Nagar, the Minister of State for Railways, A.K. Moorthy, today inspected the route and later announced that the three-kilometre long section would be made ready for passenger traffic by August. The project is expected to cost Rs 7.5 crores.

He inspected the route with senior Southern Railway officials and later told reporters that electrification would be taken up soon. A new station would be constructed at Anna Nagar on the Tirumangalam Road and in addition, a halt station would be constructed. EMUs would be operated on the single track, the Minister said. This would be of immense benefit to people proceeding to Central, Tondiarpet and Royapuram.

"Though I am confident that the Engineers can finish the work in a month's time, we thought it would be wise to work on it for longer so that it lasts for a very long time", Mr. Moorthy said. Lift gates would also be provided at places wherever necessary. The Southern Railway General Manager, V. Anand, the DRM, M.S. Jayanth, and other senior officials accompanied the Minister.

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