This a peculiar story, certainly first time in the history of Indian Railways and probably first time in the world history of Railways too. The story relates to the Loco Pilot of the most prestigious series of Indian Trains ‘Rajdhani Express’ connecting the National Capital New Delhi with various provincial Capitals. The story is –
The assistant driver 44-year-old Cheniram Rajbonshi of the Dibrugarh bound Rajdhani Express got down at Panbari station, 25 Km from Guwahati, to relieve himself out of nature’s call at 7.15pm on 17th Feb’09. Moments latter he was run over by Amritsar Express coming from Dibrugarh and died instantly.
S.Seikh,the driver of the Amritsar Express was a heart broken fellow who lost his close friend under the wheels of his train. He said that he and other drivers have time and again requested superiors to provide toilet in the engine but with no avail till date except some assurances that such an arrangement would be made in new engines.
Its a matter of great concern that 14000 (therefore 14000 engines too) odd trains running countrywide every day has no toilet in the engines and the pilots have to come down to answer the nature’s call whenever needed, within the stipulated time the train stops at a station.
Whereas normal mail/express trains stops at intervening stations normally within two hours, but in case of super fast trains like Rajdhani Express, it may be even 4 to 5 hours before a train stops causing a great discomfort to the pilots if they develop pressure and want to relieve the same. Such discomfort may cause loss of concentration and may prove disastrous.
It is also surprising that the assistant driver Cheniram Rajbonshi could not see a train approaching from opposite direction with its headlight fully glowing. This gives a twist to the whole story that the accident occurred probably due to carelessness of the pilot concerned.
However, the tragedy has brought to the forefront the need for toilets in the engines, which the railway unions have been demanding so long. While there is toilet facility in the engines abroad, the same is yet to be incorporated in Indian engines