IES in Indian Railways: An Electrical Engineer’s experience

Hello Readers,
In this article i present to you the experience of working in Indian Railways of an IES officer from electrical engineering. We met at foundation course about which i have already detailed here. At NAIR, i requested him to write an article for IES aspirants from electrical engineering, which would give them insights of life in Indian Railways.This article has been written by Deep Karan Singh. He has detailed about his journey so far , after joining railways on 15th December 2014. He has tried to portray a balance picture of working in his department. I hope this article helps you in giving  inside look of the system where you dream to be.


My initial experience of working in Indian Railways

It was 28th of February of 2014. The final result of the Engineering Services Exam-2013 was out and I had secured AIR-22. Having a look at the number of vacancies in IRSEE, I was sure to get Railways if my medical goes well. The medical schedule was out by the end of March. Till that year, Medical exam was conducted by Railways at its hospitals. I was called to Mumbai in April for the medical exam even though it was not among the three choices I had given. The medical result was out by October and the offer of appointment was issued on 31st of October. I received it two days later with a First Class Duty Pass mentioning Nasik as the place of reporting. The Chuk-Chuk Gaadi was calling me and asking me to help it serve the public. The joining was on 15th of December and ten days prior to it, I received a welcome letter from the CTI (Centralized Training Institute) at which I had to report i.e. Indian Railways Institute of Electrical Engineering, Nasik (IRIEEN).



I reached Nasik on 14th of December. The CTI bus was on duty to receive the about-to-join Probationary Officers (POs) from the station and take them to the institute. The CTI is at a distance of 4 kms from the station and is situated on the outskirts of the main city. It is spread over a vast area equipped with all facilities except the Khajana i.e. ATM (Any Time Money). There is the main building, the two hostels for the POs and senior officers, the ORH (Officer Rest House), the health unit and almost all the sporting facilities. I heard that Railways gives huge importance to sports and had observed it first hand. The culture of sports is imbibed in Railway Officers from the start. The institute has a very big ground, swimming pool, gymnasium, badminton court, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, etc. It also has a recreation room where indoor sports like snooker, carrom, table tennis are available and a reading room. There is a big library in the main building where all the books related to Electrical Department of Indian Railways and also other books of general nature are available. The hostel area also has a mess to cater to the diverse tastes of the Officers who had come from all over the country.


After a week of the joining, which was for the joining formalities, the first part of our training i.e. Phase-1 was started. It was a eight-week classroom program in which the POs were exposed to various facets of Electrical Department of Indian Railways. The classes at IRIEEN were conducted from Monday to Friday.  A total of seven tests were conducted to evaluate the POs in the latter half of the program. The tests were not of serious nature and all the officers pass them easily but these should not be taken for granted. The POs also went for practical training to Mumbai during the course but the real field training was yet to come.


Parties, functions and get-togethers are a regular affair in the Indian Railways. We were lucky to witness the 25th anniversary of service of 1987 batch of IRSEE in Indian Railways. Senior officers interacted and shared their experience with the new POs. All of them told very nice things and future prospects in Indian Railways and we were delighted to hear such unprecedented experiences. A cultural program was conducted during our stay in which all the POs performed and brought out their hidden talents. On the occasion of Republic Day, the Director of IRIEEN unfurled the Tiranga and the National Anthem was sung. Refreshment was also distributed to all the officers.


After the conclusion of Phase-1 on 13th of February, all the POs were sent for field training for 8 days to different places in groups of 4-5 and were told to report on 26th of February for Group ‘A’ Foundation Course  at National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) in Vadodara.

First Field Training

There was 8 working days gap between the completion of Phase-1 at IRIEEN and the start of the Foundation Course at NAIR. All the POs were allotted field training for this period to different places. I, along with three more POs, went to Bilaspur. We were given an assignment which also included foot plating. We went to Korba from Bilaspur, travelled in the locomotive of a goods train and learned new things from the inspector who was travelling with us to facilitate out training. Different types of signals, warning boards were coming enroute our journey and the inspector was clearing all our doubts. It was an unprecedented experience and we learned a lot of new things. At Korba, we went to coal mines of Coal India Ltd and observed the things which were relevant to us. It was a life changing experience and I knew more better experiences are yet to come.


NAIR is the alma mater of all Railway Officers and POs from various services of the Railways reported to attend the ten-week program. The POs were from IRSEE,IRSE,IRSSE,IRSME,IRAS,IRPS. The probationers from different services were made room partners for better inter-departmental interaction. Morning PT was conducted at the academy to inculcate the virtues of being fit. The other side of the PT was the penalty of losing a CL for missing four PTs. Here also the EXAM monster was not ready to leave few of the POs (including me) who did not want to study. A total of 13 exams were conducted during the course covering all the departments of Indian Railways like Commercial, Law, Operations, Stores, Electrical, Civil, etc. The exams were finished a week before the completion of the course which was to bring down the curtains on 1st of May.

A one-week study tour was also organized during the Foundation Program and I was one of the lucky ones to go to Chandigarh, Shimla and Amritsar. The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla was thoroughly enjoyed by all the POs and the visit to Attari-Wagah border filled the Railway Officers with national pride.

Field Training

After NAIR, all IRSEE probationers will be going for field training in groups of 5 to 6. The Railways are spread all over the country with its presence increasing in the North East and giving an ample amount of opportunity for the newly recruited Officers to visit new places and learn the nuances of Railway working. The POs will also be visiting the Production Units of Railways like RCF, ICF, CLW, DLW, etc. All the POs are scheduled to meet at various CTIs for appreciation courses and training review at Nasik.


The Phase-2 will be conducted at Nasik at the end of the one and half year of training, followed by the posting exam and passing out parade.

There have been talks going around in the Railway corridors that the POs will be sent for training abroad, probably to Japan and Australia, but nothing has been finalized yet.

This is my four and half months of experience in Indian Railways and I hope that some nice things are in store for me.


Written by

Deep Karan Singh,

With vital inputs from Shailendra Maurya


A look at GS paper Of ESE 2015

In this article we will look at General Studies portion of IES General Ability Paper. This section contains 60 questions which are of multiple choice types. First of all we will analyze the paper from the point of view of diversity of questions and their difficulty of question. We will also look at the difficulty level of questions in different sections. Analyzing this year’s paper will gives us new perspective in our preparation. We can analyze the current trend and accordingly orient our studies.
While doing this exercise, I faced difficulty in breaking up question in their different topics. Sometimes they were too close, and sometimes they were a mix from two topics. In deciding the difficulty level of questions I have taken the average knowledge level as the basis point for my consideration.


From above figure it is clear that once again Geography and, Environment and Biodiversity are the major fishing ground for UPSC. No of questions from polity has decreased and history questions have shown rise this time. There has been no question from economics which has become sort of neglected topic in this exam. Current affairs have shown a jump. Science and Technology has gained prominence and most of the question from this section were difficult to deal with. Questions from life sciences has decreased a bit.



47% of the total question were easy doable in this paper which should have been done by every serious aspirant in this exam. 33% of the question fell in moderate category i.e an average student who has done hard work in GS should grab these marks. So, 80% of total question were in your hands this time. Now rest 20% question were for those students who studied GS round the year.The current affairs have been asked from Nov 2013 for paper conducted in June 2014.This paper, it seems was neither too hard nor too difficult for an average student.

Now we will analyze topic wise difficulty

Note-The figure on the chart represents number of the questions not the percentage.

 These figures below are self explanatory. Out of total number of question from a particular topic,it show their relative difficulty.




g4 g5 g6 g7 g8 g9 g10


This was just a brief analysis of general studies paper. If i have made any mistakes please let me know about it in the comments.
Thanks and Good Bye.


How to prepare GS for IES

Hi All,            In this section I am going to talk about the most dynamic subject of IES syllabus and which is the toughest to decode as well. This has given pain to almost every aspirant because of its seemingly ‘never-ending syllabus’ which is also seen by many covering ‘everything under the Sun’. I also used to see it like this as well.             But with the benefit of hindsight I can say that this is the most interesting, useful and practical part of the syllabus. One gets to learn about how our or any country is run (Polity), how is our Mother Earth like (Geography & Environment), how our body or life on earth functions (Science and Biology), how our past was created (History) and many more useful things. So one should enjoy reading and learning this part of syllabus. Although at this time so close to your examinations you might not share my viewpoint but probably you will also feel the same after some time.             One thing you all should be clear about this paper is that barring few (Only those who are preparing for Civils which can be counted on fingers), all the aspirants share same anxiety about this paper and this remain relatively low scoring for almost everyone. So need not worry too much about this paper rather One should try to score average to remain afloat if one does not have much time. As scoring average is very critical in all papers and scoring extraordinary in one to two paper is the key for scoring good ranks in these super-competitive examinations.             Now in this article I will try to simplify this paper and will make some recommendations which are all up to you to follow. Analysis of Paper              Take a look on the pattern of questions which are being asked in last 2 yrs –   image                           Now the interesting thing about this analysis is that for the last 2 years only 5 sections of GS have carried 50 questions each time. These sections are Polity, Modern History, Geography, Biology and Environment. So one at least can place these 5 sections on the top priority and can finish with a good score in this section. I am going to refer these 5 sections as J5 (Jaroori 5) in remaining article for convenience.                                 Another conclusion which can be drawn is that these all sections are very loosely related to current events and largely static in nature. So one need not worry too much if one has not followed Newspaper throughout the year. One can still hope for an average score. Ideal Preparation of GS One should start preparation of GS at the same time when one starts preparing technical subjects. Because these are new subjects and these require some time to sink of their own to become well understood by aspirants. The nature of questions asked in the J5 and in other sections is very basic and very fundamental. These questions are like the primary questions one face in approaching these 5 subjects. The depth of understanding required to answer these is not much compared to Civils. So one need not compare one’s study with that of Civils aspirant on GS front.  The strategy for long term can be summarized as – One should first read the notes/books of J5 within first month as the length is not much and it will also provide enough time to sink and upgrade. Preferably one should read the good notes (Made Easy Class notes can be one option) if one can get them. One should follow a good newspaper preferably The Hindu or Indian Express. There is always issue about the sources of study because of large number of sources are required if one prepares on his own. And there can be hardly any good compilation of all sources available. And please avoid Guidebooks carrying everything under them. They all carry too much of nonsense as well as errors. And they will only make you frighten the GS more and more. Sources of Study – Polity – 12th Class NCERT (Indian Constitution at Work) Modern History – 12th Class Old NCERT of Modern History Geography – Notes + Selective reading of NCERT + Physical and Political Maps of India and World Environment – Reading of Environment Chapter from Science NCERT from Class 6th-12th + Internet for National Parks, Endangered and Critically Endangered Flora and Fauna, Conservation initiatives,  Treaties, Pollution etc. Biology – Science NCERT Biology chapters from Class 8th- Class 10th. Other – Reading of Newspaper + Internet Tips for the exam Polity – This should be everyone’s stronghold as this is the most static and predictable part. It carries around 10 question every year. You can refer Made Easy class notes or some other notes as well as NCERT book. One should practice questions of this topic as UPSC can make easy questions quite tricky in this part. Modern History – Since last 2 years there have been only 3-4 questions from this section but it can gain its lost prominence any time. So better prepare it thoroughly as it is interesting to read as well. There is going to be high probability that once studied you score good marks in this section. Geography – This is emerging as the favorite section with 10-15 questions coming from this section. The syllabus here include India’s physical features (Mountains, Plateaus, Coasts, Rivers, Lakes) , Other significant physical feature on world map, political map of the world and India, Climate and Vegetation zones etc. One needs to have selective reading of NCERT chapters of 11th and 12th class for these to cover. Biology – This is a section which is seen by many as the easiest to score if properly completed. It can have 10-20 questions. The questions are very fundamental in nature and one can easily score very well with reading of chapters of Biology from chapters (these can be covered in 1-2 days) of Science NCERT from Class 8th – 10th. Environment – This section with its increasing importance in real life is also emerging significantly in Competitive Exams as well. This is quite loosely bounded subject and for now it demands internet based study. It can have 8-10 questions in the exam. One should complete environment related chapters from atleast 8th -10th class science NCERTs (These are very basic in nature so will be the nature of questions in the exam; One can complete all of them in 3-4 hours if required). Apart from them one should use internet to cover other things which I have mentioned in the table.  I am sharing some pages which I found on internet. These can be highly useful for the aspirants so do read these – I am sharing some pages which I found on internet for this year aspirants as I know they have very less time to search themselves. Next year aspirants should prepare on these lines. These can be highly useful for the aspirants so do read these – Don’t read these article in much detail if you have issue of time. Don’t give more than 15 minutes to any article. Food Chain – Conservation Sites – Different Species – Threatened Species – Climate Change – Ozone and IPCC – Western Ghats – GM Crops – Emerging Threats – Forest Survey – Now this is it from my side for the time being. I might add to this article later. I tried to unravel the mystery of GS but I know it was the hardest of all. I hope it helps. For all your queries post your doubts in the comments and I will try to respond positively. For more visit –