Loco pilots pledge to follow signal

Sushant Ranjan
Saturday, 12 January 2019

Milind Deouskar said, “This is an innovative experiment started in the crew lobby in Pune. After completing all formalities before going to duty, loco pilots write in their own words 'I shall not the cross red signal' on the board. Then, they ring a traditional bell at the same place.”

PUNE: The Pune railway division has taken the possibility of jumping the red signal by loco pilots seriously. If a loco pilot crosses the red signal, it may lead to a serious accident. To avoid such an eventuality, they are supposed to utter an oath: 'I will not jump the red signal' while joining their duty. Accidents have been reported in other divisions as a result of jumping the red signal by loco pilots.

Now, the Pune railway division wants to strengthen the effect of this and has added some innovative elements to it so that loco pilots will not only remember their responsibility of not jumping the signal but also enjoy their daily 'oath-taking'.

This innovation was conceptualised by division's mechanical engineer Joel Mackenzie. He suggested that a loco pilot should write his promise of not breaking the red signal on board and reaffirm it by ringing a traditional bell hung in the running room, where these pilots report for duty.

Loco pilots have a duty schedule, as part of which they are allotted tasks. In their jargon, they are 'booked' while joining duty. They run express, goods and passenger trains bound to destinations such as Pune, Kolhapur, Vasai Road, Igatpuri, Manmad, Solapur and Baramati.

Explaining the significance of this new rule, Milind Deouskar, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), said, “This is an innovative experiment started in the crew lobby in Pune. After completing all formalities before going to duty, loco pilots write in their own words 'I shall not the cross red signal' on the board. Then, they ring a traditional bell at the same place.”

Narrating the positive effect of this ritual on loco pilots, Deouskar said, “This experiment is spreading positive atmosphere among pilots. Ringing the bell keeps them alert. Probably, Pune is the first division to start the initiative. This is an initiative conceptualised by division's mechanical engineer Joel Mackenzie.”

"Considering the tough duty schedule of loco pilots, various facilities have been provided to them such as a special running room equipped with modern amenities. The Railways provides them with a yoga-meditation room, which helps them to free from stress on a regular basis. Besides, an outdoor gym has been set up for general fitness. The running room is cleaned frequently, attractive paintings with folk culture themes are painted on the exterior and interior walls of their rooms," said Manoj Kumar Jhawar, the spokesperson of Pune railway division.

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