Rail Board for reducing duty hours of drivers

Reducing duty hours of mail/express train drivers to six hours (they encounter a signal every minute on an average) to monitoring the crew on his first trip after having availed rest (since most of the signal-jumping cases have occurred after the train drivers have availed headquarter rest) are among the suggestions that came up during a recent meeting on SPAD (signal passed at danger) convened by the Railway Board.

The meeting was attended by chief mechanical engineers of all zonal railways and one mechanical loco inspector from each division and was addressed by Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and other high officials.

The meeting followed the recent spate of train accidents including the one involving the Hampi Express on May 22 leading to the loss of 25 lives.

Pressure has also been mounted on the Railway Ministry by the All-India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) for improving safety measures in view of the frequent train accidents.

A communiqué containing the minutes of the meetings and various suggestions made by the participants has been circulated to the General Managers of all the railway divisions in the country.

It was suggested in the meeting that since the loco pilots (train drivers) were found to be above 55 years of age in majority of the cases of jumping of the signal by trains, the retirement age of drivers should be brought down to 55 years.

It was also suggested that links should be made in such a way that there are not more than 2-3 continuous night duties for train drivers.

Efforts should be made so that the running staff (train drivers) was not made to perform more than six hours duty between 10 pm and 6 am, it was suggested.

It was also suggested that retro-reflective board indicating the type of signal with arrow towards the relevant line should be provided at each signal post. In case, there are more than two lines, the signal post of additional line should be of different colour. The name of the station should be written on signal posts of station signals.

The participants also asked for ensuring proper time tabling so that margin for acceleration or deceleration is available depending on the load and gradients and incorporating a concept of loco recovery (making up for lost time) in the working time table.

Suggestions made in the meeting also included subjecting drivers to breathalyzer test before embarking on a journey and counselling their families on the ill-effects of alcoholism. It was also suggested that train drivers should be protected from being arrested in case of accidents as this causes anxiety and increases the stress level of drivers.

“The crew should be counselled not to work under pressure since he has to operate the train under maximum permissible speed now that the concept of booked speed is no longer there. Safety has to be given priority over punctuality,” said the communiqué.

Proposals of Railway Board meeting
Reduce duty hours of mail/express train drivers to six
Monitor crew on first trip after having availed rest
Retirement age of drivers be brought down to 55 years
Not more than 2-3 continuous night duties for drivers
Subject drivers to breathalyzer test before a journey
Drivers shouldn’t be arrested in case of accidents


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. working hours are redused after accidents only, when the crew realise the seriousness of their duty then only safety will be there, because for mileage and ot they are taking risk and the administration also encouraging them, accidents held not only in express trains there are more in goods trains also, now it is the time to make decisions for safe working of trains, reducing of working hours is an important thing, because railways paying more overtime allowance to drivers, more pay makes the man greedy and make the way to accidents, thanking you.

  2. First of all i thanks to RLY Board 4 discussion on reducing duty hrs of LPS ,one thing is most important that the policy of optimum utilization of running staff to b staff immediately and where is vacancies of LP AND ALPS to b fulfill as soon as possible.

  3. It is a good sign.

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