Indian railways have started an SMS service on the 139 passenger information system.The service would enable one to know the PNR status, current train running positions, accommodation and availability and fare enquiry all that a passenger needs to do is SMS the queries to 139 and the information would be provided within minutes,a senior Railway ministry official told.Official said the SMS service would basically supplement the existing facilities available in 139 and reduce the burden of the network flooded with calls every day the round the clock enquiry service 139 is a call center number and run by IRCTC estimates suggest it receives over a crore calls per day.However, the SMS service would come at a premium and would be charged at Rs three per message with all private operators, however state operator MTNL charge Rs one for the same.

Railways are contemplating to incorporate somemore passenger-friendly features on the 139 platform like booking hotel rooms etc recently, IRCTC had introduced ‘book a taxi’ service enabling passengers to hire the taxi from their home to the railway station by calling 139.The official said the SMS service can be availed from all mobile networks, except BSNL and Reliance networks where it will be available soon.

While seeking information on PNR status, one simply has to write PNR (give space) (type PNR number) and SMS to 139.The benefit of the SMS service is that passengers can access information even on the move, the official said for instance, if a passenger wants information about his train running behind schedule and the expected arrival at the destination, he can type the station code or station name along with his train number and SMS to 139.
The SMS service would be available across the country.