The Indian Railways is planning to roll out a facility that will send SMS alerts to passengers on delay in train arrivals, as part of its efforts to make travel hassle-free.

The department also plans to set up 4,615 water vending machines at many railway stations, among other initiatives.

"SMS service on train delays is under consideration," Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told Lok Sabha, while replying to a query on SMS alerts on train delays.

"There is a provision in this regard," the minister said, responding to a question whether the new service would be to be similar to current "SMS alerts about status of train bookings."

Sinha said the capacity of e-ticket system has now been scaled up to handle 7,200 ticket bookings per minute from a previous 2,000 bookings.

"In the time to come, we will increase the (ticket booking) capacity," The Economic Times quoted him as saying.

The department has launched many other measures "to make booking or reservation of tickets easier and user friendly," he said.

Sinha said that the railways has opened Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) counters at over 5,800 stations and installed nearly 1,500 Automatic Ticket Vending Machines.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will set up water vending machines at "identified railway stations" to provide clean drinking water at reasonable prices.

"At present shortlisting of agencies for water vending machines has been completed. 4,615 water vending machines are to be installed in a phased manner," he said.

The Railways is estimated to spend Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh per machine to install and will employ 2 to 3 persons to handle each machine.