TIRUCHY: Stung by complaints of staff, including loco pilots and guards, being found tipsy while on duty, the Tiruchy railway division has installed 20 biometric breathalysers to ensure safety in travel by checking guards and loco pilots before they embark on their trip.
The breathalysers will check for alcohol levels before loco staff go on duty, to make sure they are fit to operate trains, much as is done with spot checks on roads for drunk driving and flight crew, before they take to the skies.
The high-end devices are installed in crew rooms and connected to a central server to monitor efficiency of guards and loco pilots. The system is gradually being implemented at all levels of railway staff, including the commercial division. The Railways has begun carrying out a massive exercise to improve safety, and the breathalysers are part of the measures.
Two months ago, Southern Railway purchased 40 breathalysers and installed 11 at Madurai, 10 pairs at Tiruchy, six at Thiruvananthapuram, eight at Chennai and two each at Salem and PGT.
A member of the All India Running Loco Running Staff Association, M Pandiarajan, said for a loco pilot and a guard prior to boarding undergoing a test was a welcome move. The central server can be accessed by stakeholders concerned. However, almost all data, such as hours of work and rest are all pre-loaded and there would be no compromise on safety, he noted.