Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chennai: Forty-eight-year-old EMU motorman Manohar might have died on duty yesterday, but his name would be preserved for posterity as a symbol of duty consciousness by the railway department.

It was around 3.40 pm that Manohar fell unconscious while piloting the Gummidipoondi-MMC  EMU at Kaverapettai with well over a 100 passengers aboard. Motorman of an EMU running in the opposite direction (MMC-Gummidipoondi) noticed the flasher light blinking, stopped the train and rushed to the ‘halted’ EMU along with the guard, where Manohar was found lying unconscious on the floor.

Subsequently, he was rushed to the Perambur railway hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The last thing the duty-conscious motorman did before he died was to bring the EMU to a halt and save the passengers onboard. Manohar is the third loco pilot in the last decade to die when the train they piloted was in motion. All three dead motormen ensured that their passengers were safe. “It is a motorman’s instinct to stop the train. The only thing that comes to our mind during emergency is the dead man’s handle which halts the train,” said a loco pilot, preferring anonymity.

However, loco pilots attributed such fatalities on duty to excess work pressure from the department. “Loco pilots work for well over 12 hours, against the six hours stipulated by the Union labour ministry,” a functionary of the All India Loco Running Staff Association said. “Loco pilots are most vulnerable to health risks as we have no shifts or fixed timings. We work against the bio clock. We suffer sleep deprivation besides several long-term health risks,” said loco pilot appealing to the department to consult the health department before designing the schedule lest they suffer more casualties.

Motorman dies at controls of train

Chennai: The motorman of a Gummidipoondi-Chennai Central suburban train fainted at the controls of the train when it was at a signal after Kavarapettai railway station around 5pm on Thursday. Manohar of Nemilicherry later died in hospital, said a spokesperson of Southern Railway.
Sources said the motorman of another suburban train spotted Manohar slumped inside his cabin and alerted the station master. The 108 ambulance service was called and Manohar rushed to a hospital where he died.
The crew of every train – motorman and guard — are supposed to see if their counterparts in other trains are fine when they pass by. As suburban trains are operated by a motorman, their controls are designed so that the train will slow down and stop if motorman is incapacitated while driving


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