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Railways may stop using detonators to alert Loco Pilots- Mrit News

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Employees cite advancement in technology and harassment by security personnel to stop the decades-old practice

Employees cite advancement in technology and harassment by security personnel to stop the decades-old practice

The Indian Railways might soon dispense with the decades-old practice of the crew using detonator signals to alert Loco Pilots of an approaching train to an obstruction or danger lying ahead.

During train accidents or inclement weather conditions affecting visibility, the Loco Pilot/Guard of a train or the Station Master place detonators on the track at different location that will cause an explosion with a loud bang when a train passes on them. This is to alert the Loco Pilot of the approaching train to an obstruction like a derailed train, boulders, damaged track etc. so that he/she can bring the train to a halt.

Advanced gadgets

In recent times, employees’ unions have been calling for stopping the concept of detonating signals considering the advancement in technology and the use of gadgets like anti-collision devices, train protection warning system, short circuiting clips, fog signal device, auxiliary warning system etc.

The argument of the staff is that the Explosive Substances Act prohibited them from possessing explosives in public places and they were being harassed by security personnel while carrying the detonators on duty in trains. They also claimed that detonators were hardly used during train operations since many years and hence may be dispensed from the general rules.

The railway employees said dispensing with detonator signals would also reduce the weight of the essential equipment carried by Loco Pilots and Guards.

Monetary savings

The Western Railway agreed with the contention of the crew and recommended that considering the redundant use of detonators and advancement of technology at field level, it would be prudent to dispense the explosives from the safety equipment of Loco Pilots and Guards. This would also lead to a huge monetary and manpower saving.

Acting on the proposal of the Western Railway, the Ministry of Railways has written to all Zonal Railways calling for their views on the operational and safety aspects of withdrawing detonator signals.

“It is a fact that detonator signals were never used in many years since there are many other effective means of alerting the crew of to the dangers lying ahead. The intended functions of detonator can easily be taken care by other methods that are almost foolproof. The concept of detonator signals is likely to be dispensed soon,” a railway official said.


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