Southern Railway has installed CCTV cameras in a WAP 7 passenger locomotive to monitor the drivers during train operation. For the first time ever, two CCTV cameras and voice recorders have been installed on a WAP 7 locomotive, which is a third generation passenger locomotive.
A senior Railway official stated that “Initially, the surveillance cameras will record the tracks and a portion of the cabin. A voice recorder has also been installed in the loco cabin. The loco will be monitored closely for three months on parameters such as loco pilot behaviour, difficulties in navigating the operating tools and troubleshooting process. If it works well, it would be replicated in more locomotives. Passenger train locos will be given top priority.”
The decision of installing CCTV cameras was part of the recommendations made by a task force in June, previously this year. The main aim here is to improve the safety of train operation in the wake of repeated rail accidents.
“Monitoring the loco pilots is essential for safe operation of trains. It has been found that a majority of safety violations, including signal jumping, derailment, and non-adherence to speed restrictions happen mostly when drivers are taking calls on their mobile phones. Now, they will exercise more vigil while on duty,” the official said.
Needless to say, the loco pilots association is upset. The cameras would only put the loco pilots under pressure and not improve rail safety, they said.