Loco Pilots demand better working hours to ensure safety of train passengers

Chennai (MAS): Loco pilots who drive long distance express trains have warned that railways could be compromising on safety of passengers.

In spite of repeated reminders, Southern Railway has not taken steps to lessen the burden of loco pilots who are overworked and stressed out, said representatives of the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA).

More than 100 loco pilots staged a protest in front of Chennai Central railway station on Thursday demanding the zonal railway administration implement instructions from the railway board to streamline duty time of loco pilots.

The association has been seeking a slew of measures to reduce stress of drivers to prevent accidents.

“Loco pilots are made to work for more than 13hours and night duties are assigned to them continuously for six days. This should stop. Maximum duty hours should be limited to six hours for all loco pilots and night duties should not be assigned continuously. Driving an express train is a job that needs high level of concentration. Stress will lead to human error and can cause accidents,” said a representative of the association.

The association said, “Railway board has issued various directives like reduction of duty hours, avoiding continuous night duties, two hours calling time and other measures that would reduce stress but the zonal administration was not following the instructions.”

The zone does not have required crew strength and non-filling up of vacancies leads to denial of leave which adds to the stress.