Southern Railway asks Station Masters not to communicate with Loco Pilots unnecessarily over walkie-talkie

Southern Railway’s advisory to Station Masters to refrain from interacting with the crew through wireless communication sets, comes days after the A.P. train accident which left 13 persons dead and 38 others injured

November 02, 2023 12:18 am | Updated 12:33 pm IST - CHENNAI

In an order, the Chief Operations Manager said it was noticed that Station Masters often communicated continuously with the crew on walkie-talkie even when the trains were entering, and departing from stations. File

In an order, the Chief Operations Manager said it was noticed that Station Masters often communicated continuously with the crew on walkie-talkie even when the trains were entering, and departing from stations. File | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Southern Railway has directed Station Masters not to engage Loco Pilots and Assistant Loco Pilots of incoming/outgoing trains in unnecessary communication on walkie-talkie to avoid distracting them.

In an order, the Chief Operations Manager said it was noticed that Station Masters often communicated continuously with the crew on walkie-talkie even when the train was entering, and departing from stations, which may distract the crew.

“This sort of communication with the crew is certainly not conducive to safety in train operations. It is also seen that this practice has become habitual and the station staff tend to thoughtlessly pick up walkie-talkie sets to speak to the crews, unmindful of what the crew may be involved with,” he said.

Instructing Station Masters to refrain from interacting with the crew through wireless communication sets, the Chief Operations Manager said the use of walkie-talkie should be avoided unless it was necessary or when the purpose was to avoid accidents/unusual occurrences or only when the Loco Pilot/Guard (Train Manager) sought any information.

Warned of action

Station Masters were also warned that any deviation from the instructions would be viewed seriously and appropriate action would be taken against the erring staff members.

The advisory comes days after the train accident in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, in which a rear-end collision involving two passenger trains left 13 persons dead and 38 others injured.

Though the Loco Pilot and Assistant Loco Pilot of the approaching train, both of whom died in the accident, were alleged to have crossed two danger signals, resulting in the collision, members of the All India Loco Running Staff Association claimed that the Station Master of the Kantakapalli station authorised the crew, through a communication, to pass the signals.

The truth, however, would come out only after an in-depth investigation to be done by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, they said.

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