NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has implemented a system of periodic counselling for Train Managers and Section Controllers on their duties and responsibilities to ensure smooth and safe movement of trains.
The move comes a few days after a terrible train accident on June 2, 2023, at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in the Balasore Division of South Eastern Railway that involved the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express, Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express, and a goods train and left 288 passengers dead and more than 900 injured.
While the process of offering counselling to Station Masters and Pointsmen is already in place in all zones, the Railway Board wrote to General Managers of all Zonal Railways on June 8 to treat the matter as "most urgent" and launch a regular programme for train running staff on "specific safety and movement issues".
A senior Train Manager and Section Controller with sufficient knowledge of best practises in safe train operations should be nominated as the resource person to train other colleagues for improving alertness and proper compliance to other responsibilities during normal and abnormal situations, according to a railway officer.
Ban on smart watches: In related news, the Southern Railway's Madurai Division has outlawed the usage of smart watches by Loco Running Staff while they are on duty. The use of smart watches by loco running staff is prohibited on footplate with immediate effect, according to a directive from Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer Ravikumaran Nair.
He said that during a recent check, a Loco Pilot who was on duty was regularly checking his smart watch because it frequently activated with alarms. At a speed of 110 kmph, this was seen when the train was in operation.
"Upon further examination of the functionality offered by smart watches, it became clear that a smart watch might mimic calls made on Bluetooth-connected mobile phones. It goes without saying that a smart watch can divert a running staff member's attention if it is connected from a disguised mobile phone. The officer declared that the aforementioned circumstance was riskier.
Mobile phone use while on duty has already been prohibited by the Ministry of Railways for locopilots. Their cell phones are frequently checked to make sure they are in "switched off" mode. Even having the phone on mute while working is prohibited, he explained, because it would cause the Loco Running Staff's minds to be preoccupied with checking for missed calls.