Besides the onset of fog, another thing that adds to the chaos on railway stations in winter is the unavailability of real-time information or live feed on the status of trains.
Helpline numbers are often unreachable and staff at enquiry counters is clueless. This coupled with the never-ending wait at open platforms in the chilly weather is enough to irritate and tire out travellers.
Even after years of deliberation, global positioning systems still haven't been installed in trains, so travellers can't get live feeds on the position of trains. Though the system is in place at railway stations, it provides little relief as no one can predict how much long a train will take to reach one station from another in dense fog.
"We have linked the information boards at stations, telephonic helplines and enquiry counters directly to the operations control-nerve centre that keeps track of train movement in any division and communicates with the train driver and stations," said SK Sharma, chief PRO, Northern Railways.
"We have installed SIMRAN system - a technology that gives accurate position of trains - in 12 trains. The technology, which will be replicated in other trains soon, will update passengers through an SMS on the position of the train and the time it will take to reach the desired station," said Sharma.
Railways, it seems, still have a long way to go before they can provide real-time updates.