Driving trains will soon become a comparatively cushy job in the near future. For the first time, diesel engines are set to get a complete makeover in terms of aesthetics and ergonomics. The National Institute of Design (NID) in collaboration with Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), Varanasi, is redesigning the interior and exterior of the engines from the drivers’ perspective.
The changes aim to make train driving a cool affair. For the first time in the history of Indian Railways, the drivers’ cabins will be air-conditioned and kept warm during winters with heaters. “Loco pilots operate in extreme conditions and through new design, we intend to provide them comfortable working conditions ,” said Praveen Nahar, senior faculty , NID.
The focus will be on providing better visibility to the drivers and better inner ambiance. “Visibility is the most important factor. We aim to minimize visual obstructions and increase leg space,” added Nahar.
The engines will also get brighter colours , new toilet design and windshield. “Providing better working environment and a new colour scheme are among the main changes,” said Balaji Rangarajan, faculty, NID and head of the project.
It was fatigue among the drivers that prompted DLW to go for complete renovation . “Sometimes, loco pilots work under very stressful conditions. They have to deal with vibration, noise, heat…” said Amit Kumar Agarwal, chief designer , DLW. “I have been a driver myself. The decision for a makeover was taken after many consultations with loco pilots.”
Every year, DLW manufactures 150 WDG 4 engines (diesel engines). Currently , there are 800 of these on the tracks and over 20,000 loco pilots operate them. With the new design, DLW also aims to attract customers from different countries and expand their export market.
A lot of research for the project has also been carried out at Drivers Training institute in Sabarmati.