Loco pilots of long-distance trains cited a need for a toilet in the engine cabin. Lack of toilets had led them to have health problems, the drivers say.
There are around1,500 loco pilots in Chennai alone, and close to 300 of them are long-distance loco pilots.
A loco pilot said that “In a Delhi-bound train, with limited stops, we can halt only at Vijayawada which is around seven hours away from Chennai. In between, we cannot go to the toilet at all. Many drivers are forced to use bottles.”
“Very few engine rooms are air-conditioned,
The main reason we ask for air-conditioned cabins is to cut off the sound from outside. We are already working amidst 20 motors and the horn right above our heads. Our hearing ability may also reduce because of the noise,” added another engine driver.
Some other problems that he talked about, “We also want night duty to be limited to two continuous days per week. At present, we do night duty shifts for six days and this is also taking a toll on our health.”
A loco pilot has also indicated the requirement of good health among loco pilots. He also reiterated that inhumane working conditions had led to their health loss. This is a loss for the railways as well,” he added.
Around 600 drivers belonging to the All India Loco Running Staff Association, staged a protest outside the Moore Market Complex recently, for various demands including the filling up of loco pilot vacancies.
“Due to lack of manpower we are forced to work for more than 13 hours every day and it is difficult to take leave too,” said a loco pilot.