Shunting accidents mount as Railways refuse to ease drivers’ working hours

Three die after Rajdhani Express wagon derails, bringing wall down on pavement at Old Delhi Station

The rail coach derailment during shunting at Old Delhi railway station on Monday night claiming three lives was the third such incident across the country within a span of 10 days. It occurred even as railway locomotive drivers demand, in vain, a reduction in duty hours. Shunning the loco drivers’ problem has resulted in a shunting problem for the railways.

The first of the recent accidents occurred on November 16 when an empty Kerala Express crashed into the Paschim Express here during shunting. Though the latter’s coaches suffered damage, no injuries were reported.

On Sunday, the Bangalore-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express derailed in Bangalore while being shunted into the yard. One of the coaches ripped through the boundary wall and landed on the adjoining road.

The accidents, having managed to occur in controlled situations, have caused the authorities anxiety. A study has revealed that 91 per cent of surveyed loco drivers suffered from stress due to their working conditions and suffered from multiple medical problems.

The Railway authorities claim there are more than 17,000 vacancies in the department and have, therefore, held out against loco drivers’ demand for reduced working hours.The High Power Committee (Running and Safety) headed by D.P. Tripathi too recommended a reduction — from 10 hours to nine — in the work timings of loco drivers. The Railways is yet to take a decision on the recommendation and, in a submission to another panel, cited paucity of hands to rule out reduction in working hours.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 3:01:50 PM |

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