Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Railway Board suggestions to avoid SPAD and instructions to all GMs.

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Minutes of the meeting regarding SPAD held on 12.06.2012
Government of India
Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)
No.2004/M/(L)/466/7101 New Delhi dated 14.06.2012

General Managers,
All Indian Railways.

Sub: Minutes of the meeting regarding SPAD held on 12.06.2012.

 Kindly find enclosed a copy of the Minutes of the meeting regarding SPAD held in Railway Board on 12.06.2012. All Zonal Railways should make efforts to implement the above to ensure safety and to bring down cases of SPAD on IR. Each Zonal Railways should also upload its presentation on the SMDMS site so that it can be accessed by all concerned.

                                                               (S.M. Sharma)
Dir.Mech.Engg. (Traction)                
Railway Board.

Minutes of the meeting on SPAD held in Railway Board on 12.06.2012. The meeting was attended by CME/Dy.CME (Operations) of all Zonal Railways along with one Inspector from predominantly diesel divisions of IR. CRB, MM and AMME addressed the participants and sensitized them on the issue of safety in train operations. During the interactive session, the following good suggestions were given by the Zonal Railways:
 A.    Suggestions pertaining to Locomotive:
1.    There is a need to have a uniform cab design one for diesel locos and another for electric locos. It is essential that the location of A9 and SA9 is the same. It will be useful if standard colour coding can be done for A9 and SA9 on all locos. The low control stand design is useful because both the LP and ALP can see each other and  communicate freely.
2.    There is a need to improve the condition of driving cabs by making them sound proof and ergonomic and to relocate the horn so that the sound level is within limits. Cab should also be made air-conditioned.
 3.    The VCD operational cases should be analysed and crew counselled.
4.    An USB port should be provided in the speed recorders so that the events can be analysed at the lobby itself and this will ensure that the crew is vigilant.
5.    A device has been provided by GOC shed of SR by which a switch can be activated during shunting operations and this ensures that the speed does not exceed 15 kmph.
6.    Provision of voice recorders in the cab for recording the shortcomings and calling out of signals.

7.    Loco Pilot seat’s quality should be improved with back rest provision.

B.    Suggestions pertaining to rest facilities:

1.     Proper resting facility should be provided in the lobby so that the crew is fresh inspite of PDD.

 2.    Breathalyser should be made part of the CMS and the sign on menu should only come up once the breathalyser testing has been found to be fit.

3.    Provision of subsidized meal should be made mandatory so that the crew does not waste time and can avail proper rest.

4.    Calendar day rest should be provided to running staff instead of 22/30 hrs. rest so that they may fulfil their family and social obligations.

C.     Suggestions pertaining to operations:

 1.    Retro-reflective Board indicating the type of signal with arrow towards the relevant line should be provided in each signal post. In case, there are more than 2 lines, the signal post of additional line should be of different colour. The name of the station should be written on the signal posts of the station signal.

2.    The numbering is signals should be in reducing orders from distant to the home so that there is uniformity in numbering  and the driver is sure that the same signal number is for a particular signal on each station.

3.    Presently the validity of LR is six months which is too long. If a train crew has not gone on a section for more than one month, then one day and one night LR should be provided.

4.    The length of trains have increased, new clear standing room (CSR) of 692 meters should be maintained instead of 686 meters so that starter signal is clear visible from the cab.

5.    Long hours of crew should be minimized by providing relief. Railway should make arrangements for hiring road vehicles to ensure the above.

6.    Links should be made in such a way so that there are not more than2/3 continuous night duties. Also efforts should be made that the running staff is  not made to perform more than 6 hours duty during 2200-0600 hours.
7.    The state of mind of the LP should be seen by the CCC/LI especially if there has been a mishap or he is joining duties after a long period of absence. In case of any doubt, he should not be booked on superfast trains.

8.    The crew should be counselled not to work under pressure since he has to operate the train at Maximum Permissible Speed now that the concept of booked speed is no longer there. Safety has to be given priority over punctuality.

9.    Proper time-tabling has to be ensured so that margin for acceleration/deceleration is available depending on the load and gradients and there should be a concept of loco recovery in the WTT.

10.    Monitoring and foot plating with shutters will also ensure that no shortcuts are undertaken in the yards. LPS should also be provided walkie-talkie to assist in shunting operations.

11.    Circulars on safety, etc. should also be issued in regional languages so that crew can easily understand them.

12.    The crew should be given a feedback by SMS  on the unusual occurrences reported by him while signing off.

13.    Driver should only work on one traction i.e. diesel or electrical.

14.    A unified G&SR should be published for all Indian Railways.

15.    S&T department should issue a signal booklet and if any change in the location of signal correction slip should be issued and circulated to all lobbies.

16.    The rest at HQ and outstation should be liberalized. A crew on 6 hr. outstation rest should be served call book after completing rest i.e. 6 hours + 2 hours  =8 hours.

17.    Efforts should be make to reduce the anxiety of the running staff. A train should not be put back 2-3 times. The Power controls should be equipped with control charting terminals so that they can monitor the actual train running and call the crew accordingly.

18.    Those sections should be identified where normally running duties are exceeding more than 10 hours and preventive action should be taken to minimize these running duties.

19.    Other ZR’s LI should foot plate on other zones so that wrong practices of that zone may be highlighted and corrective actions should be taken.

20.    Whenever a train has been stopped at a station for a long time for crossing or path, before departure the LP should talk to the ASM and Guard to reconfirm that the signal for his train has been lowered. The ASM should also inform the LP and Guard regarding above.

21.    PME of the running staff should be streamlined and criteria should also be modified and the mental fitness should also be part of the same.

 22.    The caution order issued by the station should also include permanent speed restrictions. The ER Board should also indicate the speed of the upcoming caution so as to pre warn the driver.

23.    Shunting order (T-806) should be given for shunting operations so that no shortcuts or unsafe practices are undertaken.

D.     Suggestions pertaining to training:

1.    Whenever new technology is fitted on locomotives, seminar should be organized in the training centre and the instructor should also be trained so that they can impart the correct knowledge to crew.

2.    Low cost simulators should be provided at all lobbies so that the crew can utilize their free time when they are waiting for the train.

3.    New technology like CCB has been introduced on locomotives. Provision for simulation based on CCB should also be there in the new simulator.

4.    Norms for sanction of LIs for monitoring of ALP should also be prescribed.

 5.    Normally crews pass the training with 60% marks which implies that they may not be conversant with 40% of the syllabus. In the training institutes the answers of the questions should be discussed after the examination has been conducted so that the crew is aware of all the aspects.

6.    The yardstick of LIs should be reviewed to have a sanction for monitoring  etc. Preferably 25% LIs should be selected by promoting mail pilots.

7.    At present, different railways are following different systems for monitoring of A/B & C category drivers. Since A category driers are being monitored once in 3 months on many railways, this is an incentive to the LIs to give A category to maximum drivers so that their workload is reduced. It is essential that sufficient ambush check should be carried out on A category Loco Pilots.

8.    Once a month, each LP should be available during the day time in HQ so that proper counselling and monitoring can be undertaken.

E.    Misc. suggestions:

1.    The signal sighting committees at supervisor level are not effective. Even the officer level committees conduct the inspection on mail/express and only sighting of signals on the main line is addressed whereas those on the platform, loop lines go unattended.
2.    Since in most of the SPAD cases drivers above 55 years are involved, the retirement age of LPs should be reduced to 55 years or they should be made CC/PRC/LI if they want to continue beyond 55 years. Another suggestion included making them Super LP.

 3.    The maximum duty hours of mail/express drivers should be reduced to 6 hours as they encounter one signal every minute on an average during their run.

4.    NCR has started the system of making the pass/PTO/Leave etc. available at the lobby itself by providing a suitable drop box in which the running staff can drop their request. This saves a lot of time he can avail his rest at home station.

 5.    Instructions exist on NER that mobile phone should not be used by a foot plating official as this distracts the LP and there was a case of SPAD due to this very reason.

6.    100% housing should be provided to drives as they are residing upto 50-60 kms. Away from their station of posting and are taking a lot of time in commuting. They are unable to get more than 10-12 hours of rest even at the home station when they are provided 16 hr.  rest.

7.    The fitness of running staff should be reviewed before any promotion and also after they have attained an age of 50 years. A psychological test should also be conducted to assess their fitness level and reaction time.

8.    Families of running staff to be counselled by LIs on ill effect of inadequate rest, alcoholism etc.

9.    The WLI should  take note of the issues raised by the running staff and should follow them up. He should also maintain a record of such issues noted and resolved. A feedback to the running staff via SMS will also be good.

10.    Crew which reports after leave/sickness/training should be booked after 6 hrs instead of odd hours. Changes should also be made in CMS.

11.    Timely crew review should be done to creation of posts. DRM should be empowered to sanction the post.

12.    CC/PRC cadre should be permanent instead of drafted CC/PRC for better controlling and monitoring of crew and train.

13.    Since, most of the SPAD cases have occurred after the crew has availed HQ rest, the monitoring of LI should also be done on the first trip of a crew after having availed rest.

14.    The materialization factor of crew is about 40% i.e. the number of crew indented to the number of crew who are finally available on foot plate. The indenting should therefore be 2.5 times of the vacancy.

15.    Joint signal sighting over all ZRs should be done especially confusing signals and remedial action should be taken.

16.    The drivers should be provided protection from being arrested in case of accidents or run over of animals as this cases anxiety and increases the stress level of drivers.

Loco pilots with their family members are going to sit on dharana

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Loco pilots with their family members are going to sit on dharana in front of divisional railway manager office / Guntakal  of south central railway on 25 June 2012 from 10.00hrs to 16.00 express their anguish against atrocities AND harassment  by railway administration.Demands are-

1) Cancel zonal link and redraw the divisional level mail/ express trains link.

2) Bring back to head quarter within 36 hrs.

3) stop continuous night duty and limits it to two days only.

4) Implement 30+16 hrs periodical rest instead of 22/30 hrs.

5)arrange loco to work with short hood leading only, otherwise it should be modify as per electric loco.

6) Fill up all running staff vacancies immediately.

7)Introduce air conditioning in running room to avail proper rest.

8) classifie loco pilots as intensive staff.

9) Let us allow  us to maintain our social and family obligation safely without any fear and pressure.


Sunday, June 10, 2012


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On 7th June 2012 the The Loco Running Staff of  southern , south western and south central railways took a protest march to commissioner of railway  office , which was flagged off by Com P.S.Prasad General Secretary of COC Karnataka . The COC Karnataka extends its support to AILRSA as the demands raised by it are in the interest of  common public.
Demands :
1.  Classify loco running staff as intensive.
2.  Allow 30+16 hours PR
3.  Limit Continuous night duties to two
4.  Redraw crew links for mail trains in divisional jurisdiction for better acquaintance
5.  Standardize the locomotives to retain reflexes with air conditioned cabs
6.  Run diesel locomotives in short hood only or modify as twin cab like electric locos
7.  Introduce air-conditioning in running rooms to avail proper rest.
8.  Ensure zero vacancy in loco running cadre.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Railways depriving loco drivers of sleep

NEW DELHI: The next time you board a train, spare a thought for its driver. He could well be doing duty for the past 15 nights.

Ironically, there is no upper limit in the railwaysrulebook on the number of night duties to be done by the engine crew despite data from major rail accidents pointing to the fact that most mishaps take place between early night and late morning.

The weekly rest provisions for locomotive drivers are vague. These talk of giving drivers a 30-hour rest four times or 22-hour rest five times in a calendar month. But the provisions are silent on the gap between two rests.
Faced with a severe staff shortage, coupled with the fact that most trains run also during night hours, railways is being forced to put most of its drivers on night duty for long periods.

As of now, around 60,000 loco drivers are running more than 19,000 trains as there is a 20% vacancy in the 82,000 sanctioned posts.

The dangers of such a situation are obvious. For instance, the engine crew roster for Hampi Express which collided with a stationary train suggests that the driver had run 23 trains in 19 days of which 12 were full-night, three half-night and seven full-day duties. This means the driver had undisturbed sleep in only seven days in the past three weeks.

The crew roster for Kanpur shows that a driver has to run 16 trains in 15 days, of which 15 are full-night. Under the rules, they are not allowed to break for food, refreshment or answer nature's call during duty hours.

Though railways has blamed 'human error' on the part of drivers for recent train accidents, the increasing number of deaths on rail tracks has exposed the glaring negligence in safety measures, including a large number of vacancies for loco pilots.

The drivers' association claimed that around 3,000 drivers are stationary as they are assigned petty clerical or personal assistant jobs and 4,000-5,000 are medically unfit. Indian Railway Loco Running Men Organisation accused the management of making a scapegoat of drivers, and said the real culprits were the unjust duty hours.

Times View

All talk of introducing modern technology to enhance safety in the railways seems farcical given the fact that even something as basic as ensuring adequate rest for the men behind the machines is so callously neglected. Considering that the lives of lakhs of passengers who travel by the railways every day is in the hands of these loco drivers, their remaining alert at all times is crucial. That can hardly be expected if they are fatigued and sleep deprived. Safety apart, there is the issue of the right of the loco drivers to decent working conditions. Surely the government that lays down labour norms for all should at the very least ensure that its own entities provide decent working conditions. Clearly, the vacancies need to be filled, the sooner the better.
Courtesy-The times of india / 31-05-2012