With an aim to check instances of motormen jumping red signals in the suburban section, the Central Railway (CR) plans to counsel motormen, loco pilots (LPs) and assistant loco pilots (ALPs) on remaining calm while driving local trains. The special sessions have been planned for Thursday. Such incidents are referred to as Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) where a motorman or a loco pilot does not halt trains despite red signals. While a preventive system stops the train in such cases, SPAD is considered a threat to safety. The counselling sessions are part of a special drive conducted by motormen to check on the working of assistant loco pilots.
On May 14, the motorman of a Panvel-bound local train jumped a red signal between Kurla and Chunabhatti stations on the Harbor Line. On April 22, a locomotive jumped the red signal between Vidyavihar and Kurla, disrupting services on the fast line for one hour on CR. “We have witnessed four-five cases of SPAD in 2018 and around 10 in 2017. A majority of motormen who have skipped the signal said they were either distracted or not paying attention when it happened. We plan on counseling them,” a senior railway official said.
CR has around 800 motormen and 2,500 loco pilots and assistant loco pilots. In the suburban section, signals are placed at a distance of 120 meters along the tracks. Motormen are required to keep an eye on each signal and increase or reduce the speed of the trains accordingly. Last year, at least 45 such sessions had been conducted. “As many as 1,660 services operate on the suburban section of CR. It is difficult to concentrate as missing a signal for even a second disturbs the schedule. Motormen are often distracted due to movement of trespassers on the tracks and people placing objects on tracks,” a senior motorman said.
A senior official said such seminars are planned at least thrice a month and guidance on adopting safety measures against SPAD and plying trains safely without causing derailment is provided to motormen. “As many as 27 safety drives, 37 seminars and 16 safety audits have been conducted in the past one year to counsel drivers. We also conducted a mock drill, in co-ordination with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), to train the staff on first-aid in times of accidents,” an official said. CR recorded nine accidents that disrupted train services in the 2017-18 fiscal, compared to 15 in the 2016-17 fiscal.
“We are conducting surprise checks and keeping guard on routes to ensure the number of repeated errors are reduced,” the CR official added.