In this sound-proof area, the railway motormen are expected to meditate for a few minutes before piloting local trains through the city's 120-km-long suburban network that extends from Churchgate to Dahanu and which is often heavily congested.
Tranquillity room for Indian Railways loco pilots! In a bid to reduce stress among motormen after Mumbai division reported a spike in instances of local trains overshooting signals, the Western Railway zone of Indian Railways has come up with tranquillity rooms. A tranquillity room has been made available above the Churchgate station. In this sound-proof area, the railway motormen are expected to meditate for a few minutes before piloting local trains through the city’s 120-km-long suburban network that extends from Churchgate to Dahanu and which is often heavily congested. Every time when a railway motorman loses focus and stops the train before the signal, it is treated as an ‘averted collision’, known as Signal Passing at a Danger Mark (SPAD). This often ends with a departmental inquiry and the motorman losing his job, according to an IE report.
Between the years 2006 and 2019, there were as many as 44 instances of SPAD on Western Railways’ suburban section. Between August 2019 and November 2019, there were at least three such instances that resulted in alarm bells ringing within the railway administrative circle. Last year in November, DRM GVL Satyakumar held day-long sessions with various field employees to get to the root of SPADs and it was found that the motormen in Mumbai division were mostly those who had been recruited to the job directly (who lived in the city), and those who had been promoted as motormen after serving as loco pilots for goods trains in suburban Mumbai.
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Many LP Goods drivers with their families in Valsad, Udhna, Vapi areas that lie beyond the suburbs of the financial capital, would travel for two or more hours to reach the Churchgate or Borivali lobbies, sign in for the day and then they travel by train to reach stations like Virar or Dahanu to start the local trains. A lobby is where the railway motormen are assigned their trains for the day. The local trains start from different stations like Churchgate, Borivali, Malad, Mahalaxmi, Andheri, and Virar. However, until recently, there were only two lobbies, one at Churchgate station and the other at Borivali station. But with a new lobby in Virar, motormen starting their duty from here can reduce their travel time.
According to the report, the suburban network of Mumbai has a strength of 500 motormen, of whom 200 motormen start their trips from Churchgate, 250 motormen from Borivali, while 50 of them being assigned to the new lobby at Virar. According to Satyakumar, the purpose was to drastically change the ambiance from where the motormen start work by making it clam, clean and composed for their mental health.
According to the report, the motormen will have more resting area with the lobby spread across 1,300 sq feet. The tranquility room will be provided with cushions for railway motormen to kneel and meditate, along with a few chairs for them to sit and meditate. New tranquility rooms will also be set up at Borivali and Virar lobbies, Satyakumar said.