Thursday, July 2, 2015

    Sri. Pradeep Kumar Saxena,
    General Manager,
    South Western Railway,

Sub:- Abrasive SOB of Mechanical Department, Over burdening of Loco Pilot- protest- seeking kind intervention-reg

Respected sir,

This association is greatly pained and anguished at the recent Standing Orders issued by the respected Sr.DME/SBC in connection with the provisions of G&SR 4.35 which are arbitrary and issued only on the premise of punctuality there by putting Safety and accountability to the back burner hence this appeal to your good self to intervene and repeal the said Standing Order.

As per the said SOB in question it is hence forth instructed to the Loco Pilot to repeat the aspect of the signal through Walkie Talkie when such signals are cleared at stations there by enabling the Guard of the train to permit the Loco Pilot to Start his train so as to improve punctuality of the train, whereas G&SR4.35 stipulates that the Station Master after ensuring from the Guard of the train that all work related to the train is complete such as loading or unloading or both and that passengers have detrained and entrained shall clear the relevant signals for dispatch of the train and also according sound the Station Bell, then in turn the Guard of the Train after confirming that the relevant signals have been cleared for his train from the Station Master shall permit the Loco Pilot of his train to start his train.

Being the head of this Railway you are aware and appreciate that train working is a team work where in all the members of the team have been assigned specific duties to be discharged for the smooth and efficient working of the system which in turn are  reiterated by the provisions of rules in general and G&SR in particular.

This Standing Order discounts the onus of responsibility from other members of train operation and adds to the woes of the already burdened Loco Pilot which this association strongly protests.

Punctuality of a train is affected by many factors which are accounted under the heads of Traffic, Engineering, Loco and Miscellaneous.

Consequent to the orders of the Railway Board that all Mail and Express trains shall run at Maximum Permissible Speed the component of Loco Loss has turned out be bear minimum and in such cases where Loco Loss are reported it may be in most cases due to reasons which do not involve the skill of engineman ship and may be due to defects in Locomotive or Coaches or due to Brake Binding in the formation.

A careful inference into G&SR 4.35 would reveal that it is the Station Master under who's control the movement of the train is affected because he is the person who is entrusted with the duty of clearing of Signals for dispatch and reception of trains. Hence it would be wise and prudent that the Station Master after clearing the Signals for Dispatch/Reception of trains informs the Guard of the train  through walkie-talkie that relevant Signals are cleared for the movement of the train and it is to be noted that the Station Master is the person who clears the signal and also the first witness that his operation has taken place in the correct sequence and all safety precaution complied with. On many occasions the SM does not inform the above to the Guard of the train many of whom do not takes initiative to pick up the aspect of signals in time and usually expect the Loco Pilot to repeat the aspect of signals which causes unwanted delay in starting of trains which causes loss in punctuality of the trains.

On many occasions the Guard of the train apply brakes after starting to pick up late passengers who are waiting on the platform all in the name of sympathy which cases unwanted delay and loss of punctuality and excess consumption of fuel oil.
Other reasons for loss in punctuality are due to the non- standardization in the issuance of Caution Orders where the location of the Caution Spot  is sometimes specified by the OHE mast and sometimes with reference to the Hectometer board which causes lot of confusion in the minds of the Crew as such the Numbering on the OHE Mast is not symmetrically on every Kilometer as the number of OHE Mast on a straight line will be less than that of a curved line where as the Hectometer board shall be independent of the nature of  layout of the track which will install confidence to the Loco Pilot about the distance ahead of the Caution Spot and save necessary tension and loss in punctuality .

From the above it would be clear that the reasons for loss in punctuality in most cases not directly attribute to the Loco Pilot

Sir as a responsible Trade Union we believe that it is our duty not only to comment and criticize on issues relevant to us but also give valuable suggestion for improvement of the system; being driven by such commitment this association suggests the following.

1.  the Station Master shall clear the relevant Signals immediately for the starting of the train on arrival of the train at his station and only inform the Guard of the train only when the train shall wait  for precedence or crossing or any other condition affecting starting of the train.

2. the Guard of the train shall take every step to ensure that the work on his train like Unloading/Loading is done within the least possible time and pick up the aspect of the signal affecting the moment of his train immediately as and when it is cleared and at stations where such signals are not visible ask the Station Master to repeat the aspect of such signals once it is cleared for the movement of the train and permit the Loco Pilot to start the train immediately.

3. Train and counsel all staff concerned to act diligently and quick in the event of Signal failure and other abnormal conditions keeping in view all Safety aspects of train working intact.

4. instructing the Signal and Telecommunication department official to provide walkie talkie sets with batteries last for at least one round trip there by reducing the train detention due to lack of communication between the Loco Pilot, Guard and the Station Master. Deputing official for regular servicing of walkie talkie sets to crew lobby.

5.  instructing the Engineering department official to communicate to the Station Master on either end of the Caution Spot and other concerned about the location of the work spot in Hectometer board number and following a uniform reference system while indicating the Caution Spot, Regular upkeep of all boards and indicators especially their night aspect.

Sir, this association has taken the lead in highlighting this Standing Order which is against the provisions of G&SR4.35 and unlawful because in one incident of alleged SPAD the Loco Pilot was issued with charge sheet S.F-5 with the charge that 'You have started the train without proper permission'.

Sir, as your good self is aware that right from train starting up to destination or crew change point the crew especially the Loco Pilot is fully engaged in discharging his duties. There is no doubt that the Loco Pilot is over burdened /over stressed except at stations when the train stops where he gets a few moments to relax and breathe easy.

At this juncture instructing the Loco Pilots to perform the duties of Guard and Station Master is only an act nothing short of rubbing salt to the wound and thereby making him accountable for the Omission and Commission of other connected to train working.

Practically the work of the Guard starts after the train comes to a halt and if this too has to be performed by the Loco Pilot then the need for pricy 'In-Charge the train 'is in question.

          Our adjacent Railways adhere to the provisions of G&SR 4.35 in letter and spirit even to this day.

The deviation proposed by the Sr.DME/SBC is belittling the wisdom of the rule makers of the said rule in question which is unacceptable and against the law.

In short, this SOB not only adds to the woes of the Loco Pilot but also promotes violation of G&SR4.35 and a potential Safety Hazard to the safe working of trains over South Western Railway.

Anticipating, annulling of the above referred Standing Order immediately with your interference in the interest of Safe Working of trains and a harmonious industrial relationship between all the stake holders in train running.

Thanking you
                                                    Yours Faithfully

25.06.2015                                         (Rameshan K)




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