Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vigilance control device installed in locos

safety aspect: Vigilance control device fitted in an Alco type diesel locomotive at the Diesel Loco Shed in Tiruchi . — Photo:M.Moorthy
safety aspect: Vigilance control device fitted in an Alco type diesel locomotive at the Diesel Loco Shed in Tiruchi . — Photo:M.Moorthy 

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In a major step aimed at enhancing rail safety and preventing accidents, Southern Railway authorities have embarked on the task of installing Vigilance Control Device (VCD) in all non-micro processor controlled ‘Alco' type diesel locomotives.

The micro controller based multi-resetting stand alone VCD is a safety device that will keep the Loco Pilots in a state of high alert throughout the journey. The VCD have so far been fitted in 16 out of the 40 diesel locomotives housed in the Diesel Loco Shed, Tiruchi. They are being installed in locos hauling mail and express trains. Eighty four VCDs have till now been distributed to the Southern Railway Zone. 

Connected to the electrical power supply and air brake systems in the engine, the VCD installed right front of the Loco Pilot provides cyclic alert to the driver once in 60 seconds and applies penalty brakes in the 95{+t}{+h}second if the per-defined warnings are ignored by the Loco Pilot, railway officials here told The Hindu .

Railway officials say a loco pilot carries out any one of the operations such as pressing the horn button; application of 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 while on journey. Explaining the functioning of the VCD, railway officials say the LED lamp in the safety device would start blinking after 60 seconds if the driver remains idle without performing any of the above operations. 

The LED lamp would keep blinking for 17 seconds to alert the driver. If the Loco Pilot fails to perform any of these operations or acknowledge the VCD warning, the device would then give a buzzer sound for the next 17 seconds to caution the driver.

If the warnings are still ignored, the VCD will apply penalty brakes. The DMR (Dead Man Relay) valve is de-energised to reduce the engine speed to idle and the governor cuts off fuel supply leading to the stoppage of the entire formation. 

The penalty brakes can be released only after 34 seconds of time and the throttle handle should be brought to idle, says a senior railway official. The VCD automatically resets the alerting cycle when the pre-defined locomotive operations are on or when the reset switch of the device is pressed, the official added.

( all over in India - this vigilance device is installed )

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SBT Staff Union calls for withdrawal of PFRDA Bill

The three-day national conference of state bank of  travancore staff union  which held on Monday, in a resolution urged the Union government to withdraw the Provident Fund Regulation and Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill-2011 for participatory pension scheme to government employees.

It said if the Bill was passed, government employees who joined service after 2004 would not be eligible for the existing Central government employees' pension. This would also deprive the employees of Provident Fund and Gratuity benefits.

Under the new Bill, the government employees would have to join the participatory pension scheme as against the existing pension scheme based on basic salary and Dearness Allowance (DA).

The Bill is also for handing over the pension fund to private financiers that will be disastrous as there is no guarantee that the money would be returned to ensure reasonable pension to the retiring government employees, the resolution said.The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 is being introduced in Parliament to provide for the establishment of a statutory Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) to promote old age income security by establishing, developing and regulating pension funds, to protect the interests of subscribers of various pension fund schemes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24 March, 2011 and the same has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance on 29 March, 2011 for examination and report thereon.

The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011, inter alia, provides for:
(a) establishing a statutory regulatory body to be called the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority which will undertake promotional, developmental and regulatory functions in respect of pension funds;
(b) empowering the PFRDA to regulate the National Pension System, as amended from time to time;
(c) empowering the PFRDA to perform promotional, developmental and regulatory functions relating to pension funds (including authorizing and regulating intermediaries) through regulations or guidelines, prescribing the disclosure standards, protecting the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds;
(d) authorizing the PFRDA to levy fees for services rendered, etc., to meet its expenses;
(e) empowering the PFRDA to impose penalties for any violation of the provisions of the legislation, rules, regulations, etc.

Originally, the Bill was prepared by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in 2005. But it was brought by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by the Congress in 2007. It could not be presented in Parliament as it was opposed by the Left parties on whose support the UPA government then survived. But now the Bill is brought by the UPA government with the support of the BJP.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Train driver held in accident case ( THE HINDU NEWS )

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News » States » Tamil Nadu

  S. Vijay Kumar
The Railway Police on Thursday arrested A. Rajkumar, driver of a suburban train that met with an accident near Arakkonam on September 13, under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC, police sources said. 

The Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) rammed the Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train near the Chitheri railway station in Vellore district, which left 11 persons dead and several others injured. 

After documentary and technical evidence revealed negligence of the driver, a special team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Ponram arrested Rajkumar at the Moore Market Complex when he was about to board a train to Avadi on Thursday evening, the sources said. 

Adequate evidence


According to the Inspector General of Police (Railways) Sunil Kumar, investigators had adequate evidence against the driver.
Though Rajkumar claimed that he had crossed the signal in green, investigation and statement of experts proved there was no possibility of the signal turning green as there was another train moving in the section. His claim that he had not used the phone were proved wrong by call details records. 

Mr. Kumar said there was standing instruction that train drivers should not use their mobile phones while on duty unless in case of an emergency. 

“In this case, he was speaking with his friend on personal matters. He might have crossed the red signal either deliberately or due to distraction caused by the use of mobile phone.” 

Police investigated all angles, including the possibility of sabotage. “We examined many railway officials and recorded their statements. Southern Railway extended good cooperation by sharing information,” he said. 

An investigator said that the accident was a clear case of negligence. The driver was speaking on phone just before the accident. 

Instead of slowing down on seeing the signal in yellow, he crossed it at high speed (about 97 kmph). He then jumped the red signal and rammed the passenger train that was moving slowly. 

Rajkumar was produced in court at Arakkonam and has been lodged in Vellore Central Prison, the sources said. 

Some more trains cancelled or diverted..

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 In view of the rail roko called by TAJC  between October 15 to October 17  , some of the trains have been  partially cancelled / diverted . The passenger holding confirmed ticket of trains that have been partially diverted / cancelled or fully cancelled are advised by railways authority to apply for refund on the IRCTC  web site