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Commission Of Railway Safety
About Commission of Railway Safety
Purpose of constituting the Commission of Railway Safety was mainly to ensure the aspects related to rail travel safety and its operation. This Commission works under the control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Government of India which administrates its functioning and crosschecking developments. The Commission is also involved to look at the specific constitutional functions that had been implemented through the Railways Act (1989). Nature of this Commission’s functioning is thoroughly inspectorial, investigatory and advisory. Specific rules are govern this Commission’s functionality. Key factors on which this Commission concentrates include legislative investigation in case of rail accidents and the rules associated to them under the framing of Railways Act. Equally are the factors like issuing executive instructions on regular intervals for which this Commission was set. Out of the major duties of this Commission some key duties include insuring that this Commission assures for confirming whether any new railway line opened and planned for operation maintains the safety standards as specified by the Ministry of Railways. The Commission must approve for operation of new line in terms of safety standard whether that is capable to carry passenger traffic or not. Other roles which this Commission is assigned to look at are monitoring gauge conversion and crosschecking line doubling besides thorough assessment of the lines and existing line electrification. Conducting inquiry into serious train accidents that might occur any time are also one of the major roles of this Commission. It would recommend safety measures to make best possible Railways safety improvement.
The Government of India appointed a Commission after entrusting private companies especially by involving the Consulting Engineers to ensure effective control of the construction and operation of India’s first railways project. All those Consulting Engineers involved in this project were designated as Government Inspectors on the later stage when the Central Government undertook construction and operation of railways. Their statutorily recognition was completed in the year 1883 in further extension process. The Railway Board placed the entire Railway Inspectorate under it in 1905 upon establishment.
The Railway Board was entrusted with its powers and functions under the Indian Railway Board Act, 1905 post its establishment under the Notification No.801 that dated to March 24, 1905 issued by the Central Government’s Department of Commerce and Industry. It was completed under several sections of the Railway Act with the powers and authorities to create various General Rules for effective railway operation. Since then this Railway Board acts in the capacity of Safety Controlling Authority to operate and work for both Company managed and Government’s railway operations.
The functions were clearly outlined under the Section 181(3) of the Government of India Act of 1935 to plan them so that safety and security are dealt in clearly in the interest of the public travelling through the railways. Other functions were proper operation of the railways by ensuring least accidents and most importantly it was assigned to it to hold all inquiries pertaining to the accidents if any and their major and minor causes. This authority was totally independent without any other pressure hence the Federal Railway Authority was formed for such purpose. Unfortunately, constitution of the Federal Railway Authority couldn’t materialize because of the war’s outbreak henceforth the Inspectorate was authorized to work under the Railway Board for some time.
The then Chief Inspecting Officer of the British Railways headed the Locomotive Committee, Lt. Col. A.H.L. Mount headed the the Pacific (Engines with 4-6-2 configuration of the wheels named “Pacific Locos” to ensure there is no direct subordination of the Railway Inspectorate. This suggestion was advised the report’s para 210 in 1939 in their submission that explained that:-
“We understand that, under the Govt. of India Act, 1935, it is contemplated that the Inspectorate will be separated from the control of the Railway Board. This is very desirable in so far as it will eradicate the present anomaly of the Board being the Inspecting as well as the executive Authority. We were informed that the Board fully appreciates the position, and would welcome the change, although it appears that, in practice, Government Inspectors have generally retained their freedom of judgement.......”
Central Legislature permitted the key process to separate Railway Inspectorate from the in 1940 with the recommendation of placing the Senior Government Inspectors of the Railways under an authority solely administered by the Central Government. It followed by all Railway Inspectorate being placed to be controlled and administered by the Department of “Posts and Air” for which May 1941 was the date fixed. It was approached for continuation by any of the Ministries to administer that would be under the Civil Aviation portfolio.
The Commission of Railway Safety is the re-designated form of the erstwhile Railway Inspectorate whose inception on 1.11.1961 was revolutionary step.
Functions of RSC
- Approval of safety
- Auditing and monitoring safety
- Enforcement of safety
The Railway Accident Investigation Unit
Thoroughly functional autonomous investigation unit within the Railway Safety Commission, the establishment of the Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) was a historic step. It was aimed at taking investigative steps through RAIU for maximum railway safety steps for improvement. It further took the steps to evaluate and investigate the causes of any accident happened with this aim to process that independently to suggest proper recommendation. It should also ascertain lessening such accidents by taking best measure for the future. The aim was also to take the steps which would guide for railway safety and developments in this area. Such investigations are not to blame any party or exposing liabilities but to investigate for the betterment.
Several recommendations have been given to ensure safety of railway passengers for that Commission of Railway Safety performs its duties since inception. Effective steps taken by this Commission have paved the way for many safety measures in the railways. Most of the recommendations have already been implemented. A few of them have brought direct as well as indirect advantage and results are seen in the form of safety of the passenger trains running -
- Vacuum Degassing Plant commissioning for rail manufacturing purpose
- Line ultrasonic Testing and Eddy Current Testing of rails commissioning
- Concept of ultrasonic testing based on need whose introduction is meant to test the rails running on the tracks
- Guards and drivers of passenger trains are provided walkie-talkie sets for better communication
- Facility of Emergency Exit Door introduced in the coaches for timely passenger escape in the advent accidents etc.
- Vestibules are designed well to ensure better staff and passenger safety
- EMU’s are equipped with Fire Resistant Designs to control Fire Hazards or reducing them
- Tail Lamps designs are improved proper visibility options
- Goods train operation without brakevans were banned
- Restrict speed of train movement while the weather is foggy
- Total track circuiting in Station Yards has been introduced
- Improved design of speedometers to maintain reliability enhancement besides information recording and retrieving in proper manner
- Application of Audio Visual Device in the Locomotives for timely alert to the railway drivers when there is chain pulling for alarm
- Provision to upgrade train examining staff by considering their high educational qualification
- Both high speed drivers and passengers to undergo psycho test
- R&D department to set up rail-wheel interaction study cell
- A Center was established in Lucknow besides creating a chair at I.I.T. Roorkee as well
- Proper locking system for the gates not interlocked
- Steps for easy and automatic switching on in the locomotives for flasher lights
- The control room to have a voice recorder
- It is made compulsory for the fitment of quick coupling in Brake Van of Air Brake in Brake Power Certificate cases