Railway Board for providing proper rest, subsidised food to loco pilots

In the wake of increasing signal passed at danger (SPAD)-related train accidents, including that of Hampi Express at Penukonda recently, the Railway Board has asked all the 16 railway zones to implement reforms, including making loco pilot’s cabin sound-proof and air-conditioned.


The Board recently called a meeting of chief mechanical engineers of all zones and one mechanical loco inspector from each railway zone and circulated the minutes of the meeting to the general managers.

The minutes are in the form of suggestions, even as the Board has asked the zones to implement them to ensure safety. There should be uniform cab design, one for diesel and another for electrical locos and standard colour coding should be used.


Provision should be made for voice records in cabins for recording the shortcomings and calling out signals, the Board said even as it suggested improving loco pilots seat with backrest provision.

Responding to fervent protest by loco pilots about insufficient rest, the Board has called for providing proper resting facility in the lobby and subsidised food to pilots. Pilots should be provided a calendar-day rest instead of 22/30 hours rest (five/ four times a month) so that they could fulfil their family and social obligations. Breathalyzers should be made part of crew booking.

Operational aspects

Considering All India Loco Running Staff Association grouse about confusion in signalling on parallel lines at Penukonda, the Board has said retro-reflective board indicating the type of signal with arrow towards the relevant line should be provided at each signal post. If there are more than two lines, the signal post of additional line should be of different colour.

Age factor

Noticing that majority of SPAD cases involve pilots aged above 55 years, it said either they should be retired at that age or they should be made clerks/ loco inspectors or super loco pilots. The maximum duty hours of mail/ express pilots should be limited to six hours and all the pilots should be provided housing facility.

Responding to Board’s suggestions, AILRSA Secretary General M.N. Prasad thanked the authorities and assured complete cooperation by loco pilots.

Being examined

Meanwhile, South Western Railway General Manager Ashok Kumar Mital told The Hindu that some of the suggestions made by the Board were good even though he did not elaborate on them. “All the suggestions are under examination and will be implemented gradually. The Board will come out with proper set of instructions after getting feedback on these suggestions,” he said.

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