Sunday, March 8, 2020

AILRSA delegates comprising of Com. A Srinivasulu, ADS/GTL.,Com A Jayram, Branch Secretary, RU, Com KVS Ramakrishna, Organising Secretary, met Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, Sri. Shailesh Kumar Pathak during his visit at Thirupathi on 11.12.2019 and submitted a detailed memorandum. 

Shri Shailesh Kumar Pathak, 

Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, 

Lucknow , Uttar Pradesh 


Respected Sir, 

We highly appreciate your laudable effort to make Rail service accident free and a reliable mode of transport of the nation. Sir, we are also very much worried about the present unusual situation wherein the in number of accidents increases for various reasons including human failure. From our side we are always taking steps to educate our LP & ALPs to avoid the cause of accidents and to raise the sense of responsibility to achieve `zero’ level of human failures. 

There are certain grey areas where your kind attention is drawn; so far the safe train running is concerned. 


As the Indian Railways is planning to run more High Speed Trains and trains are required to run always at Maximum permissible speed it is imperative on the part of Indian Railways to install TPWS a type of In-Cab signaling system in tandem with HLSRC and HPC recommendations so as to ensure safe train working. Locomotives are to be equipped with Air-conditioning system ensured with good maintenance of it. Also locomotive are to be provided with toilet facilities to enable the crew to ease themselves. Loco motives are to be maintained with good fettle with respect to sanders, wipers, gauges/ instruments/ cab lights, head lights brightness / focusing, cab seat for crew and other aspects in rest to standardisation of cab equipment in order to achieve good engineman ship. Bring uniformity in cab design and operation as suggested by SPAD committee. It is necessary to allocate and earmark the locos to Loco inspectors for ensuring the proper performance of loco as stipulated by the extant provisions of preventive maintenance practices to avoid online failures 


The VCD provided in the locomotives is for monitoring alertness of the crew through multi resetting inputs by specified normal activities of crew. Recently, the acknowledgement push button in the VCD unit on Assistant Loco Pilot side is isolated and hence the feed of Resetting inputs has totally fallen on the operations of Loco Pilots alone. At the same time VCD reset input by the operation of horns, on both the Loco Pilot and the Assistant Loco Pilot sides, was also disconnected which has only over burdened the Loco Pilot especially while approaching a danger signal at ‘ON’ at slower speeds during which period the application of brakes through A9 will be minimum and may not be sufficient to activate the VCD reset input point. It is also to be noted that the operation of A9 in three phase electric locomotives does not trigger the VCD reset input point. 

This union demands:- 

The reset input from horns are to be restored on war foot basis to reduce the hardships on Loco Pilots. Especially in electric locomotives the placement of PVCD pedal is in close proximity of PVEF and sometimes while braking PVCD is pressed continuously instead of PVEF. 

The number of reset inputs by the operation of Loco Pilots are to be increased like DJ tripping through BLDJ, all positions of MPS and a separate push button on left hand side of the Loco Pilot (near A9 handle) which will enable the Loco Pilots to pay undivided concentration on good lookout / sighting signals and to avoid penalty brake application through VCD. 


In order to maintain transparency it is essential to share the knowledge about data logger system to running staff, thus it is required to incorporate in G&SR and Accident manual to evade dependency on third party, even inquiry officials also don’t aware about data logger system. Hence running staff become scapegoats for other department mistakes. 


It is our demand that as the Loco Pilots of one particular Railway is working across zones and entering the adjacent Railways also in their normal working beat. Hence it becomes imperative to have unified Subsidiary Rules regarding operating instructions and authorities otherwise there is every possibility of ignorance of rules of other Railways. For example, the repeated incidents in day to day train working with respect to signal assuming its most restrictive aspect in the face of an approaching train under the Subsidiary Rules shall be, as a first step, to be made uniform over all the Railways for strict compliance by the Loco Pilots without any doubt to ensure safety as restarting authorities and procedures are different in each Railway system. 

5.ALP for EMU/MEMU/DEMU Trains and Both side Motor Man in MMTS/Local Trains 

All passenger trains are now running with EMU/MEMU/DEMU rakes in place of conventional bogies. Running of Hundreds of kilometers with single man would amounts the safety, thus we demand to deploy ALP to ensure safety of travelling public and security of railways in all such trains and motor man on both side of MMTS/ Local trains 


Loco Running Staff of MDU division preferred an appeal against the wrong classification of Loco Running Staff as continuous working with Region Labour Commissioner / Chennai as per the provision of Rule 4 of Hours of work and Hours of Rest rules 2005. After conducting job analysis RLC/Chennai ordered for reclassification of Loco Running Staff working in passenger carrying trains as Intensive category of workers with 6 hours daily duty. The appeal against the order of RLC/Chennai before the Labour Ministry by the Railway Administration was let down vide order Appeal No.Z-20026/13/2012/CLS-1 dated.18.02.2013 and the decision was published in Govt of India Gazette and it become final order in the subject. the lethargy of Railway Administration in implementing the same, though it has serious effect on the safety of the millions of Railway passengers. We demand implementation of the same immediately. Indian Railways is heading for introducing trains running at 160 kmph on the present network and trials are going on. We demand limit the working hours to 5 Hours with maximum 4 hours running duty for such high speed trains. 


It is a general concept among the loco pilot especially of those who are running the mail and express and super-fast trains that a mere assistance from the asst loco pilot is not sufficient to run the train safely and punctually it may be noted that 80% of SPAD cases the involved train are Mail/Express/Super Fast trains for an effective assistance to the loco pilot as well as a check and balance an equally qualified men should be booked as a co pilot for this trains instead of ALP. The High Power Committee (HPC), the SPAD committee of Railway Board, the RAC 2002 all were recommended to provide co-pilot for Mail/Express trains which have a maximum speed of 100 kmph and above. Expecting the ALP to stop short of the signal by applying emergency brake and assist the LP in driving the train in high speed, and the ALP have no driving experience at all is totally absurd. This association urges the Ministry of Railway to reconsider its decision to reject the recommendation of HPC in this regard and accept the recommendations in tis true spirit. Financial implication shall not be criteria for implementing the same. 


Of the 1,04,445 sanctioned post of Loco Running Staff in Indian Railways as on Date, 21,437 posts are vacant. The recruitment processes are extremely slow. When new recruits are joining equal number of posts vacate on superannuation, VR, medical decategorization etc. This give undue stress on the existing staff culminating in denial of short period of leave even for two or three days, curtailing weekly/Periodical rest, forcing them to work for more than 10 to 12 hours at a stretch etc. 


To prevent the spate of “SPAD" Coaching Crew Links should be maintained with limiting the working Hours (Sign ON to Sign OFF) to 6 Hrs. and plan accordingly for Crew Changing in the inter-mediatory Crew Changing Depots, avoiding consecutive Night duties, 4 PRS of 30Hrs. (not 5 PRS of 22Hrs.) strictly maintaining Seniority, not disturbing the Crew Link (i.e., Change of Trains), intimating regarding Night duty well in advance (To facilitate taking adequate rest), arranging ALPs for all DEMU/ MEMU Trains, etc. Do not allow more than two night duties in a week. 


The present working conditions of Freight Train Crews are inhuman and pathetic. Crews are forced to work for long hours, in some cases up to 20 hours or more. More often, Crews are allowed to return back to their home only after 3 or more days. The instructions of RB Lr. No.E(LL)78/HER/76, dated 23-10-1978 &21-121979 (as agreed by all the Divisional Authorities of SCR} before the RLC/HYB) regarding limiting the stay in the number of Running Rooms, has been blatantly violated. Hence we demands the Administration to create a more encouraging environment for the Freight Train Crews and arrange Relief Crew within 8Hrs. of duty and bring back them within 36 Hrs. 


The Loco Running Staff are subjected to work in hostile situations and the working conditions imposed upon them are not conducive to ensure safety. The High Power Committee on duty hours and rest recommended to limit the continuous night duty to two followed by an order No.2016/ Elect (TRS) 113/ Safety Misc Dated 24.01.2017 issued by Member Electrical, Railway Board directing not to book crew for more than two nights at a stretch, which is not been adhered by the Zonal Railways. Still the crews have to work 4 to 6 nights continuously. 


There were a large increase in number of signals its interlocking and combination of different types, multiplicity and confusing locations has made it difficult to identify the correct signal to the approaching loco pilot and also the level of concentration on signal has practically lowered. In order to maintain the standard of safety, HLSRC had recommended providing cab signaling arrangement in loco cabs to assist the Loco pilots in picking up the correct signals. These modifications need a very little expense and have magnificent effect on railway safety and we demand to implement them on a war footing. 


The increase in number of Indicative accidents of passing signals at danger had compelled the Railway management to work on it. The meeting of Railway officers controlling running staff and loco running supervisors deliberated on the subject and they had put forth 57 recommendations to Railway Board and Railway Board had circulated the same to all GMs for implementation wide Ltr No.2004/M(L)/466/7101 Dated: 14.06.2012. Staff side had welcomed the recommendation whole heartedly. To our dismay none of the recommendations are taken up seriously by the zonal management and the Railway Board remain silent on it, showing the utmost neglect to Railway safety. We plead to implement these recommendations with true spirit without any further delay. 


High power committee on duty hours and rest recommended to allow 40 hours weekly rest for Loco Running Staff, in line with ILO Convention. The ILO convention says that Daily/ Trip rest and Weekly/Periodical rest should be independent of each other. The Railway Board sticks to 22/30 hours Periodical rest. The 22/30 hours is calculated from sign off, depriving them with the trip rest of 16 hours and abrogating weekly rest to mere 6 hours to 14 hours. The Regional Labour Commissioner (C), Bangalore, vide order no. 95/01/2000-B2 dated 22/10/2001 declared that the trip rest of 16 hours and the weekly rest should be independent of each other, and should not run concurrently or overlap each other. The said decision reached its finality by the Judgment of Hon High Court of Karnataka in WP No. 6607/2010 dated 13/04/2012. Even after the above said order of RLC Bangalore, the Ministry of Railways still framing rosters and crew links for Loco Running Staff in such a way that the Periodical Rest and Headquarters rest are given concurrently and not separately, forcing the workmen to have a Periodical Rest of hardly 6 hours or 14 hours as the case may be. It may please be noted that entire employees whether they are under Government service or in private/informal sector are allowed with a day’s rest on 7th day of the week. They break off duty at 17 hours on Saturday and enjoy one day rest on Sunday and resume duty on 9 hours on Monday that works out to 40 hours. Those who are working in administrative office enjoy Saturday and Sunday as rest days which work out to 64 hours. Even the bonded labours in the earlier centuries were allowed with one day rest in a week. 


It is in record that Loco Pilots passing signal at danger (SPAD) is in the higher side. Signal passing at danger is an indicative accident. So far there were no attempts by the Railway Board to identify the real cause behind such error committed by the crew. Departmental enquiries are more or less an attempt to find “who went wrong” rather than “what went wrong”. In this process the real reasons behind SPAD never come to light. Fearing the minimum punishment prescribed as removal from service or dismissal, the crew is compelled to deny such incident, thereby close their mind and not divulge the situation, circumstances etc that lead to the SPAD, which invariably prevent to identify the cause of SPAD and to find remedial measures. Considering this position, Railway Safety Review Committee 1998 headed by Hon. Justice H. R. Khanna, 14 General Managers of Zonal Railways on query from Railway Board vide its Letter no. 99/Safety (A and R)/6/1 dated 06/12/2012 and Task Force committee on safety 2016 had suggested to remove this fear psychosis from the crew duly withdrawing the draconian order to impose `removal from service, for SPAD, to pave way to elucidate truth behind such error in judgment. We have at many occasions suggested to constitute a High Level Committee of Doctors, Engineers and safety officers to find out the reason behind the failure of LPs / ALP. No LP / ALP knowingly commit the mistake as they are the 1st one to die if any accident takes. But so far no action is taken by the Railway Board in this regard. For the past 5 years 456 Loco Running Staff were removed from service in this score alone, but still SPAD cases are on the increase, which only proves that removal from service is not the remedial measure. Implement RB orders on Air conditioning of Loco cabins in a time frame manner. Various committees, the High Power Committee on duty hours and rest, the SPAD committee of the Railway Board etc. asked the Railway administration to provide air conditioned cabs and rest rooms for Loco Running Staffs to reduce the fatigue on account of working in outdoor with extreme climatic condition. The Loco cab is 5oC more than the ambient temperature outside. In most of the areas in summer season the ambient temperature rise above 40oC and in winter below 15oC. Forcing the Running Staff to work in a loco cabin which is not weather proof, and asking them to take adequate rest including in daytime in rest rooms which are not made weather proof is too cruel and invariably made them vulnerable to committing mistakes on account of accumulated fatigue and accumulated sleep deprivation. 


Various committees, the High Power Committee on duty hours and rest, the SPAD committee of the Railway Board etc. asked the Railway administration to provide air conditioned cabs and rest rooms for Loco Running Staffs to reduce the fatigue on account of working in outdoor with extreme climatic condition. The Loco cab is 5oC more than the ambient temperature outside. In most of the areas in summer season the ambient temperature rise above 40oC and in winter below 15oC. Forcing the Running Staff to work in a loco cabin which is not weather proof, and asking them to take adequate rest including in daytime in rest rooms which are not made weather proof is too cruel and invariably made them vulnerable to committing mistakes on account of accumulated fatigue and accumulated sleep deprivation. 


A running staff who involved in SPAD is subjected for psychological test without giving appropriate preparation, it is known fact that already they are in anxious. At that juncture forcing for test might give adverse result. Now board decided to take-out them from running duties vide letter dated 20.08.2019 has disagreeable, hence we urge to extend further chance to clear exam. Aptitude test for loco pilot (Goods) prior to their promotion as Loco Pilot Passenger / Motorman are very cumbersome and many candidates could not qualify, due to change in the mode and method involved in evaluation. This association demands restore the old standard Aptitude Test and to revert back to the old evaluation method,. 


In fact, In terms of G & SR Rule No.2.09, when any railway servant is intoxicated or suspected to be in a state of intoxication, the official in-charge shall make arrangements for his relief immediately and have him examined by a doctor as soon as possible. If a railway doctor is not available a civil doctor shall be summoned. If possible, the written evidence of two independent witnesses shall also be obtained. RB Letter No. 2009/safety (DM)/6/12 committee dated 01.06.2018 also elicited that positive found employee in B.A. Test shall be subjected to medical examination. IRMM paras 565 to 567 stress the medical examination and its detailed procedure when a railway servant found positive in B.A. Test. BAT instrument manual is substantiate the usage of original mouth piece instead of straw for proper function of instrument and accurate result. It is momentous to state that the honorable supreme court of India set aside the punishments imposed in the similar matter in several cases and categorically stated that results of breath analyzer test machines are not accurate. At this juncture, crews are tested with erroneous machines and innocent employees were imposing with unfair penalties without extending reasonable opportunities and violating principle of natural justice. Hence this association demands to cancel all punishments and provide foolproof instruments and test with prescribed mouth piece in order to save innocent employees, subject the employee who found positive for clinical examination. 


Loco running staff is forced to work against the laid down safety rules on divisional levels by the divisional authorities. It is necessary to mention here that most of the instructions and orders are against the safety rules and orders issued by the railway boards. Such divisional orders are in terms of violation of rule 175 of Indian railway Act. Time to time, railway board has issued letters/orders/circulars for the safe running of trains. On date 13.09.2012, vide letter No. 2012/Safety(DM)/BPC/7/10 was issued on the matter of stoppage of running of freight trains with invalid BPC. Similarly, this association represents that in most of the zonal railways and divisions, loco running staff are forced to work the trains without guard even when for the purpose of safety of trains, the duties of guard are well defined in General rules & subsidiary rules as well as in accident manual too. Under the misinterpretation of “Operational exigencies” of G. R. 4.25, vide S. R. 4.25 (1), without any clarification on “Operational exigencies”, zonal and divisional authorities are forcing loco pilots to work the train without guard even when guards are available on detail roaster. Not only this, it is instructed to loco pilots to perform the duties of guard in case of unusual which is defined in G. R. 6.03. So it is serious situation how to leave the loco unmanned. Even no training school is clarifying these issues. 

Sir, this association hereby placing some unusual situation which may come in terms of operational exigencies such as- 

Load parting/load dividing where guard is required to leave for the train protection. 

Fire in trains, where load is required to split in parts. 

Accidents where for the information communication and assistance requirement when loco pilot required to leave the accidental spot without guard. 

In the above situations only the loco pilot can work the train without guard just to clear section. But at zonal and divisional level, authorities are forcing the loco running staff to work the train without guard even after availability of guard & with the misinterpretation of operational exigencies. This association hereby demands that suitable action and instructions must be issued in the interest of safety of trains. 

Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Indian Railway Loco Pilots: 

Noise is hazardous industrial pollutant leading to hearing loss in loco pilots. Experts study shows mild impairment in loco pilots whose working experience was more than 10 years. There is positive correlation between hearing loss and occupation. They are at more risk of hearing loss as compared to normal population attributable to their occupation. Audiometric notch is commonly seen at 4 kHz and 6 kHz in loco pilots. Safeguarding their hearing ability is a challenge. Hence we demand to modify all the loco cabins are sound proof in the interest of safety. 

Your good self will appreciate that Loco Running Staff are working with strain and stress. There cannot be any laxity in performing their duty to run the train. Forcing them to work for beyond 11 hours at a stretch, without allowing a clear weekly rest of 30 hours independent of the trip rest, asking them to work for more than two nights continuously, not providing with weather proof loco cabins and rest rooms are detrimental to safe running of trains and leads the crew to commit error in judgment in train operations resulting in accidents. Therefore this Union requests your good self to look into the short comings which are enunciated above. 

We reiterate our commitment to safety and will endeavor all our might to ensure safety in train operations. It is also requested before your good office to grant us an appointment for our delegation to explain our grievances. We eagerly wait for a positive response. 

Thanking you sir, 

Yours faithfully


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