Foreign Tourist Quota (FTQ) - A Basic Guide
Dave W
India > India Travel - Getting There and Around > India Travel > Indian Railways
#76
| Eto Demerzel
I am working on a few improvements to articles on my website and as a result, decided to create a database of trains that have FTQ allocation in their AC classes. Since I did this manually some trains might have slipped under the cracks, but I'd like to believe it's fairly comprehensive.

The preliminary file is at http://www.trainstuff.in/files/documents/FTQ1.xlsx and lists a total of 323 trains (not train pairs). I plan to refine this shortly by creating a list of trains with FTQ allocations between important tourist destinations which will be more user friendly than the current list.

If any inaccuracies are spotted (or trains that have FTQ in AC not listed), please do contact me and I'll have the correction made.
#77
| retired

Originally posted by: aloke_m View Post

I am working on a few improvements to articles on my website and as a result, decided to create a database of trains that have FTQ allocation in their AC classes. Since I did this manually some trains might have slipped under the cracks, but I'd like to believe it's fairly comprehensive.

The preliminary file is at http://www.trainstuff.in/files/documents/FTQ1.xlsx and lists a total of 323 trains (not train pairs). I plan to refine this shortly by creating a list of trains with FTQ allocations between important tourist destinations which will be more user friendly than the current list.

If any inaccuracies are spotted (or trains that have FTQ in AC not listed), please do contact me and I'll have the correction made.


I'm very reluctantly replying, and I can only think of Aloke and perhaps 2 other indiamikers that I would have replied to, anyone else, I'd probably not have replied as I just don't have the time to get involved.

But Aloke, you regularly go above and beyond to help complete strangers, so how could I not offer help. (not totally sure it will be helpful)

I have a list of ALL trains that have FTQ in any class, it has the number of berths in each class with FTQ.

I was overjoyed to receive the list from the wonderfully helpful owners of erail, but my joy turned to frustration within minutes, one read through the list and I knew the list didn't tell the whole story, and I quickly worked out that the list was from starting station to terminating station, at the time I had thought that FTQ was always end to end, but I soon realised that this isn't the case.

Look at the Bhopal Shatabdi as an example, NDLS to Bhopal has too few FTQ when considering how popular this train is for tourists going to Agra, a search for NDLS to Agra showed a much higher FTQ, I noticed similar strange numbers for many different trains and realised that FTQ can be for any sector of a train's journey, and this makes doing a comprehensive list almost impossible.

Aloke, send me a PM with your email and I'll send you the file with the FTQ list.
#78
| retired

Originally posted by: aloke_m View Post

I am working on a few improvements to articles on my website and as a result, decided to create a database of trains that have FTQ allocation in their AC classes. Since I did this manually some trains might have slipped under the cracks, but I'd like to believe it's fairly comprehensive.

The preliminary file is at http://www.trainstuff.in/files/documents/FTQ1.xlsx and lists a total of 323 trains (not train pairs). I plan to refine this shortly by creating a list of trains with FTQ allocations between important tourist destinations which will be more user friendly than the current list.

If any inaccuracies are spotted (or trains that have FTQ in AC not listed), please do contact me and I'll have the correction made.


That's a stunning list, and really well laid out, unless you've got some great secret (and I don't mean wearing stockings and suspenders every friday), then the time taken by you runs into weeks, if not months, I only wish you'd asked me first.

Here's a few thoughts I had when I was considering how to make best display the FTQ info.

Regarding the 'complete' list, I believe it is possible to do an almost complete list, by ticking off sections of a map as you search for FTQ along each section, but you'd need something like erail's travel agent software (the one I use) that allows an availability search of all trains on a given route at the same time, and even with this, it would be a massive task, and wouldn't (on it's own) guarantee that all FTQ sectors are displayed (but a little bit of extra educated guesses would get most).

I'll go out on a limb here, I personally believe as many foreign tourists travel non-AC as travel in AC, so I feel any list without SL and 2S (and FC) would not be complete, although I'm very aware that a list including the non AC classes would be a nightmare to compile.

My list contains details of almost 1300 trains (contrary to the rubbish I'd been told about only 200 trains with FTQ), and that's only the 'end to end' trains, so the complete list will be massive, so how do we display this info?

I realised quickly that a long list of trains would be confusing to say the least, and a single post displaying a list of trains between selected stations would also not be ideal, a separate post for each sector (eg., Agra to Delhi) would be difficult (but would allow a direct link), but would be a nightmare to edit in years to come.

A simple program (maybe not so simple) would be needed that would allow a user to search between stations, but the data would need to be carefully entered and linked/grouped (eg Mughal Sarai & Varanasi), I think I asked at the time if a program could run in a post on indiamike, the basic answer was no, but this could be an option on your website Aloke, one of the big advantages of a program is the easy ability to edit in the future, and the options of developing the program a little at a time to add extra options.

I read your plans to give FTQ info on certain tourist sectors, but there's not too many areas that couldn't be considered tourist sectors, you'd easily be looking at over 100 sectors, and to really add some depth, closer to 200, almost as hard as just doing the complete list.

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to put you off, just adding my thoughts from the time I looked into doing the same.

It goes without saying that I'll help in any way I can.
#79
| Eto Demerzel

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

That's a stunning list, and really well laid out, unless you've got some great secret (and I don't mean wearing stockings and suspenders every friday), then the time taken by you runs into weeks, if not months, I only wish you'd asked me first.

Here's a few thoughts I had when I was considering how to make best display the FTQ info.

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to put you off, just adding my thoughts from the time I looked into doing the same.

It goes without saying that I'll help in any way I can.


My apologies for the delayed reply. I know you're not trying to discourage me, just reminding me that it's a mammoth task and a lot of care will need to be taken to ensure that the final result is as user friendly as possible.

I had thought about the exact same questions you raised when I decided to embark on this list, unfortunately not arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. I lack the technical skills to code and create a software for this. Maybe I can try to cadge a favour from some friends of mine who might be better at this kind of thing. In an ideal world, a database that can easily be queried for exact stations and routes - as you mentioned - would be the best, but my attempts at creating one were miserable failures.

A master list would - again, exactly as you said - be far too intimidating for any new user to find helpful. My best option at the moment appears to be the creation of lists of trains with FTQ on popular tourist sectors. Admittedly, this will be flawed as several potential sectors will be missed out initially, but unless I can find someone who can work on the programming aspects of a software for me (and I really cannot spend too much on a website that earns me nothing as I refuse to put ads on it), I might just have to do this.

Will mull over this for a while; rather busy with work and university applications at the moment, but will definitely get back here before going ahead with anything.

Also, thanks so much for the help and (pragmatic) encouragement.
#80
| retired
Getting the exact list will be time consuming, but easily achievable, but it requires people who understand the railways, and understand tourist (and NRI) movements.

I'll happily help with gathering the data and will start tomorrow afternoon.

But displaying the data is the problem.
#81
| retired
Ok, my Mrs. has given me permission to start collecting the FTQ data, I'm not sure if it's because I cooked her a lovely meal last night, or because today I promised never to cook the same meal again.[Blush]

I've thought about different ways to collect the data, and doing a section by section search just has too many potential problems, I can see no other way than to get a list of all trains, and go through them one at a time searching for FTQ on various sectors of each train's journey.

Not as awful as it sounds, the erail program I have will search a selected train, from each station to the destination station, all at the same time, I've then got to decide if FTQ could be offered for a sector not including the destination (NDLS-AGC on Bhopal Shatabdi) for example and search accordingly.

Does anyone know a substantial list of Indian trains?

The Indian Railway website used to do a great list, but it was a nightmare to try to copy and print the list. (edit - the site hasn't changed in years, just as awful as it's always been)

EDIT - I just contacted IndiaRailInfo and asked if there's a way to do a complete list.


Also.

What's excell like to use, could a first time user like me master it quickly, I'm an old fashioned kind of guy who'd rather have a pen & paper by my side and write all the data down, but whatever kind of program that will eventually display the date will need to draw the info from somewhere, and I guess that will be excell.
#82
| retired

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post


What's excell like to use, could a first time user like me master it quickly, I'm an old fashioned kind of guy who'd rather have a pen & paper by my side and write all the data down, but whatever kind of program that will eventually display the date will need to draw the info from somewhere, and I guess that will be excell.


I've been having a look and play around with Excel and think I can work with it.

It's kind of interesting to see where, and how a program could gather info from Excel, but this got me thinking.

For a program to be able to extract details of trains between Delhi & Jaipur (for example), each train would need to list it's origin and destination station, then in separate columns, the main stations the train calls at en-route, a box for each separate station.

This would be a pain, but it would be easy to add the arrival/dep time in the same box for each of those stations.

I need to think some more about this.
#83
| retired
The train lists at IndiaRailInfo are terrible, it's hard to find a train that isn't listed twice, and the number that are listed 3 times is well into the hundreds.

I tried to copy them all (in small sections) onto a Word document, got to 500 pages last night, maybe another 70-80 pages left, then my Word crashed and didn't save any of it, after a bit of swearing, I went to sleep.

This morning I copied the train lists on the official Indian Railways website, it's ancient, and I'm not confident that all trains will be on the list, and each line doesn't have as much detail, but got it on to 117 pages of a Word document.

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post



For a program to be able to extract details of trains between Delhi & Jaipur (for example), each train would need to list it's origin and destination station, then in separate columns, the main stations the train calls at en-route, a box for each separate station.



I've been thinking about this.

All details of an individual train would be listed in 1 row, so if a program was looking for trains between Jaipur and Delhi (for example), it would look along every row and list any row that contained both Jaipur & Delhi (with Jaipur coming before Delhi).

Surely, the program would then list/display the info contained in the boxes of those rows.

So the train/station times would be needed, day 1, 2 or 3 for longer routes, and some way of connecting dates.

Is there a simple calendar option that could be added to a search program? if so, would a 'days of operation' need to be indicated for each train?
#84
| retired
I went through all the passenger trains yesterday and searched for FTQ berths, I only found some on 5 trains.

Mysore-Bangalore-Tirupati = 2 x SL (none in other direction)

Kollam-Varkala-Trivandrum-Madurai 1 x SL in both directions.

Bangalore-Hospet 2 x SL

Couldn't find any in reverse dirction, but realised the Hospet section was a slip route, so checked the main section, Hubli to Bangalore and found 2 x SL, could this be an error by IR?


Also noticed the following passenger trains with 3 different bookable classes.

Ratlam-Kota-Sawai Madhoppur-Jaipur, 2A, 3A, SL (Ratlam to Kota is classed as a different train), JP-KOTA-Ratlam has the same classes in the opposite direction.

Vizag-Koraput-Jagdalpur-Kirandul has 2S, SL & FC in both directions.

Hyderabad-Parbhani and also Nanded-Hyderabad have SL, 3A & FC.
#85
| Member

Ftq nri

I am a Indian passport holder on UK student visa. Am I eligible to book train ticket under FTQ? I read on a website it is available to foreign tourists on tourist visa including NRI's.
If it is available can I book it in UK before leaving to India?

Thanks


Vim
#86
| Member
As you are neither a foreigner nor an NRI (as you hold Indian citizenship, i.e. an indian passport) - I would say no.
If you went back to India this would not be on a tourist visa.
#87
| Maha Guru Member
Back in 2003 I still had an Indian passport but managed to book a berth on the FTQ at Fairlie Place, Calcutta. I showed my passport with my German residence permit and Indian entry stamp as well as an encashment certificate showing that I had converted foreign currency into Rupees on arrival.

If it is available can I book it in UK before leaving to India?


No, you will have to book it at one of the specially designated booking offices in India.
#88
| Maha Guru Member
What's excell like to use, could a first time user like me master it quickly


Once you start you will wonder how it could be done pen & paper. I started cost & pricing sheets in the computer business by pen & paper & erasors. Every Monday was my day. One of the engineers came in with a cruddy new thing from a fruit company in Northern California. He rigged it up with a new product called a spreadsheet (Visicalc). I shouted, we have to sell this stuff order now! The function that I think will win your heart is "copy commands". My biggest complaint is that they put too much clutter into the programs, concentrate on just what you need..
#89
| Maha Guru Member
Nothing like double-entry bookkeeping in a ledger. (A Luddite speaks)
#90
| Maha Guru Member
A dream program ,which will benefit all foreign travellers