Tuesday, May 07, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
Developments like privatisation and amendments to the labour laws could cause far-reaching consequences in issues like rail safety, said K.N. Raveendranath, State president of the CITU, in his inaugural address.
The national vice-president of the AILRSA, K.A.S. Mani, presided over. The organising secretary of the AILRSA, P. Vijayakumar, and the former Railway Board chairman, M.N . Prasad, presented papers on the subject.
Almost all the speakers who addressed the gathering as well as the papers presented at the session agreed on improving the working atmosphere of loco running staff and the chances of existing conditions leading to a majority of accidents occurred in recent times.
In the paper presented on behalf of the AILRSA, Mr. Vijayakumar suggested that the working hours of running staff at a stretch be limited to 8 hours and their weekly statutory limit at 40 hours.
Also, consecutive night duty should be limited to two and crew should not be detained to run trains for a full night duty, and be relieved between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., splitting the full night shift to two spells.
Another issue raised at the seminar was about accident occurring along double or multiple lines.
Distance between the up and down lines in double line section should be increased so as to avoid accidents due to derailment in the adjacent line, Mr. Vijayakumar said.
There were also suggestions on installing Automatic Train Protecting (ATP) device in all locos to stop the train automatically during a mishap and also warn driver of the train on the adjacent line, improving the condition of running room and related technical improvements.
One such suggestion was maintaining the brake power of goods trains at sorting point at 100 per cent.
It also advocated recouping en route when the braking power comes lower than 85 per cent.
The present Brake Power Rules stipulate 85 per cent and 100 per cent brake power as minimum for goods and passenger trains respectively.
The paper presented by Mr. Prasad identified renewal of track and safety conditions at level crossings as critical areas of concern.
Arrears of track renewals reached an all-time high last year with a corresponding increase in incidents of in-service failure of rails, Mr. Prasad said.
Issues like drastic reduction in the life of wagon components due to over-loading, incidence of wheel flats and thorough inspection of underwater substructures of old bridges were also highlighted in the paper.
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