Railway administration is endangering lives of railway employees and passengers by making loco drivers over-worked

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

 

 

On June 2 around 3:15 am the engine of a goods train derailed between the Sirhind Junction and Sadhoogarh railway station in Punjab and fell sideways on the main passenger line. A passenger train, which was crossing from the adjacent line around this time, hit the freight train’s engine lying closer to the track and its engine derailed by all wheels. Fortunately, hundreds of passengers escaped without any harm as the passenger train was running at a slower speed of 46 kilometres per hour (kmph) because of an approaching single yellow signal. In Railways, a single yellow is a caution signal where loco pilots are supposed to reduce the train speed in anticipation that the next signal might be a red one.

The loco pilot (LP) and the assistant loco pilot (ALP) of goods train were stuck inside the toppled engine and railway employees present on the site had to break the windshield to rescue them. Both were admitted to the hospital with injuries.

It is feared that loco pilots fell asleep being over-tired. “Had LP and ALP joined the duty after taking a complete rest and been alert while driving, this incident would have been averted,” the train manager of the goods train said to the investigating team.

Loco pilots of the Indian Railway have been demanding that they should not made to work beyond 10 hours and must be given rest as per the rules between two duties along with the weekly rest.

Shri Sanjay Pandhi, the working president of the Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation (IRLRO), said. “If you look at the roaster chart of these drivers, you will be surprised to see that they have done several night duties continuously in the past which is against the Railway norms. If the Railways is making its drivers overwork, these incidents, though very unfortunate, are bound to happen, raising serious safety concerns for drivers as well as train passengers,”

He further said, “As per the norm, Railway drivers have to work for nine hours which can be extended to 11 hours. I have seen in several cases, the drivers work for more than 15 to 16 hours, however, the officials show two hours rest in the roaster chart in a fake manner just to show that they have given them rest in between the work.”

“The actual duty hours performed by this engine crew in the last many months are much higher than the duty records that would be considered and produced before the CRS inquiry, as a result scientifically proven factors like driving fatigue, micro-sleep, etc. would remain ignored as usual,” he added.

 

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