Loco pilots ask for safety review and adequate rest amid rising incidents of train accidents

Work-rest imbalance faced by loco pilots is a crucial factor contributing to mishaps. They further demanded better facilities, and regulated working hours in railway safety seminar


In the aftermath of several train accidents nationwide, the all-India loco running staff association (AILRSA) has called for a comprehensive review of railway safety standards. During a seminar on the work-rest imbalance of loco running staff and railway safety held on July 23 in Chennai, the participants put forth a set of demands aimed at improving  conditions for loco pilots. Key among these demands are provisions for sufficient rest, improved facilities, and regulated working hours. The event was inaugurated  by retired high court judge Justice K Chandru.

One significant issue highlighted by the loco pilots is the recent introduction of Vande Bharat trains, which has led to upgradation of  section speeds upto 120 to 130 kmph in various railway sections. Unfortunately, the recent Coromandel express accident in Odisha serves as a grim reminder of the direct correlation between speed and the severity of accidents. Loco pilots emphasised that nearly all routes are now excessively congested, with inadequate time dedicated to maintenance. Furthermore, the workforce has been reduced to almost half while the number of trains, passengers, and goods transported has increased significantly.

During the seminar, it was strongly emphasised that the work-rest imbalance faced by loco pilots is a crucial factor contributing to mishaps. Technological advancements, such as increased train speeds, signal modifications, and the conversion of single lines to double or multiple lines, have escalated the stress experienced by loco pilots. Moreover, the existence of vacancies has resulted in the overburdening of existing staff. The judicial review on employment hour regulations is still pending, according to V Balachandran, national organising secretary of AILRSA.

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