Locopilots told to violate safety norms for maintaining punctuality  

After they refused to flout norms, chargesheet issued for causing punctuality loss says AILRSA

Updated - March 30, 2024 09:12 am IST

Published - March 29, 2024 07:43 pm IST - CHENNAI

Representational image.

Representational image.

In a shocking incident reported in Salem Division of Southern Railway, the Locopilots of a relief engine were allegedly pressured to run the engine at 50 kmph instead of the maximum prescribed limit of 15 kmph to prevent punctuality loss. 

According to railway sources, a freight train was held up due to a locomotive failure between Veerapandi Road and Magudan Chavidi railway stations leading to a section block on March 14, 2024. A following freight train was detained at Veerapandi Road railway station and the locomotive detached for relief operation. 

The Station Master gave authorisation ‘T/A 602’, which is an authority for the Locopilot to cross the signal in red and without line clear at a speed not exceeding 15 kmph during the day and 10 kmph at night. The Locopilots proceeded as per the instructions and moved the detained rake in mid-section to the next destination, the sources said. 

The chargesheet issued against one of the locopilots.

The chargesheet issued against one of the locopilots.

However, an explanation was called for from Locopilot Kalu Ram Meena and Assistant Locopilot Rohit Kumar Shah under Rule 11 of the Railway Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rule, 1968, accusing them causing punctuality loss and not contacting the Traction Loco Controller before entering the occupied block section. They were also charged with failing to show absolute devotion to duty and acting in a manner quite unbecoming of a Railway Servant.

The sources told ‘The Hindu’ that the Chief Loco Inspector called the Locopilot over phone and urged him to run the relief engine at 50 kmph. Though the latter said he was running the engine at 15 kmph as per the authority, the CLI insisted that he operated the engine at 50 kmph since three following trains were getting delayed.  

‘Threat to safety’ 

Protesting the punishment proposed against the Locopilots, the All India Loco Running Staff Association has petitioned to the Principal Chief Operations Manager, Southern Railway, expressing concern threatening the crew to blatantly violate the rules was a threat top safety of train operations. 

Instead of counselling the crew to adhere to the safety rules scrupulously, the CLI had intimidated the Locopilot to run the relief engine at 50 kmph eventhough the maximum speed under ‘T/A 602’ was only 15 kmph. Wondering how the Locopilots could be punished for following the safety rules, the association said the attitude of officials and CLI (in this case) was detrimental to safety of railways, and called for removing them from safety-oriented departments.

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