IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), which offers a web-based service for booking railway tickets, has launched ticket booking apps exclusively for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices in collaboration with Microsoft.
Ticket bookings through the app will be available throughout the day except for the period from 8am to 12noon, when access to the service is blocked for agents and for mobile devices to reduce load on servers during Tatkal ticket booking window, and from 11:30pm to 12:30am when it's closed for maintenance.
The IRCTC apps can be downloaded from Windows 8 Store and Windows Phone Store, and are free of charge. The apps allow users to plan journeys, book railways tickets, check the status of their PNR, check booking and cancellation history and check ticket availability.
However, you need to sign-up for IRCTC's service and generate a TPIN to login and access all these services through the IRCTC app. At the time of writing this post, we were not able to generate a TPIN using our registered IRCTC user ID so we could not experience the app, first hand. Judging by the screenshots, it seems that the app is not just a wrapper to IRCTC's mobile website and follows Windows Phone's Modern UI design philosophy.
Announcing the availability of the app, Rakesh Tandon, CMD, IRCTC said, "We feel the app is ideal for the modern consumer who is always on the move. Windows is the most trusted and widely used platform and offers the requisite security required while handling vast amounts of personal and financial user data."
According to Microsoft, the app is strongly integrated with Windows Azure for a number of intermediary services.