All ‘Alco’ type broad gauge diesel locomotives housed at the diesel loco shed here have now been fitted with vigilance control device (VCD), a safety gadget to keep the loco pilots in a state of alert all through the journey to prevent accidents and enhance rail safety.
The ‘Alco’ type diesel locos which constitute majority among the different variants of engines homed at the Tiruchi shed are used for hauling mail, express and passenger trains as well as goods wagons.
Consequent to instructions from the Railway Board, the exercise of fitting multi-resetting stand alone VCDs in ‘Alco’ type diesel engines commenced last year across Southern Railway.
Railway officials here say that the safety device has been fitted in all the 78 ‘Alco’ type BG diesel engines homed at the Tiruchi shed whose total holding is 144 engines.
Installed right in front of the loco pilot’s seat, the VCD provides cyclic warnings to the loco pilot and applies penalty brakes if the warnings are ignored by him. The VCD automatically resets the alerting cycle when the pre-defined locomotive operations were on or when the reset switch was pressed.
While piloting the engine, the loco pilot is to perform any one of the operations such as pressing the horn button; normal application of the formation brake; increasing or decreasing the level of dynamic brake; changing the notch position and throttle; operation of sanding valves and pressing the VCD reset switch.
Officials say the Light Emitting Diode yellow lamp in the VCD would start blinking after 60 seconds to alert the loco pilot in case he remains idle and fails to perform any of the operations.
The lamp would blink for 17 seconds to alert the loco pilot and further caution him with a buzzer sound for another 17 seconds if the VCD warning was still not acknowledged by the loco pilot.
In case the pre-defined warnings continued to be ignored, the buzzer gets switched off and the safety device applies penalty brakes. The Dead Man Relay (DMR) valve is de-energised to reduce the engine speed to idle and the governor cuts off fuel supply leading to the stoppage of the formation.
The official said the 4,500 horsepower EMD type loco have in-built VCDs. The Tiruchi shed which houses 15 EMD locos at present has been allotted 25 such locos additionally by the Board.