The Ro - Ro scheme was first introduced in Konkan Railway in 1999. This enables carrying the loaded trucks directly on the railway wagons, thus reducing the expenditure on diesel, wear and tear of tyres and maintenance of trucks for truck operators.
This is providing faster turn round and higher profits to the transporters. This service ensures timely and safe delivery free of any risk factor and without multiple handling of consignments.
This is a regular service between Mangalore to Bombay on Western Ghats cutting down nearly 10 hours transit time. On finding the success, arrangements are made to run such trains between Bombay and Howrah on nominated days.

Advantages :

i)                    Less transit time
ii)                    Reduction in multiple handling.
iii)                  door to Door delivery
iv)                 Wear and tear of Road vehicles reduced.
v)                   Less Pollution.
vi)                  Savings in Patrol / Diesel Costs.
vii)                More revenue to Railways.

viii)               Improved wagon utilization.

Importance of Freight Operation:

Importance of Freight Operation:

The freight business is the major source of revenue for the Indian Railway. Main activity centers of freight operation include terminals, yards, control office and stations.

I. Broad Classification of Goods Trains:

1. End to End:

Trains, generally run from the train-originating Terminal to the final destination. This is an express stream of freight trains and does not require any stoppage en route, except for crew change.
Such trains will normally include container trains, air braked block rakes for single destination. These trains are planned to run like non-stop Rajdhani trains and may have a fixed timetable and guaranteed transit time. This group may include trains of private freight operators. Other through trains -Are also block rakes or may have two or more destinations on the same or, adjacent section. These may have conventional bogie stock

2. Work Trains, Shunting Trains, Pilots etc.:

These train movements are for short distances for clearance of damaged wagons made fit or for supply/removal of rakes to and from the sidings or important terminals served by a yard.

3. Departmental trains:

These include Material Trains, Track maintenance trains, Ballast trains, Relief Trains, Wiring Special, Crane Specials etc. are known as departmental trains.

II. Complexity of Freight operations:

Freight operation is generally more complex than passenger train operations for the following reasons:

a. The changing pattern and fluctuations in demand for rakes/wagons due to changes in the level of production, changes in the pattern of distribution and changed consumption centers.
b. The variety of commodities to be moved, with different characteristics & type of wagons required
c. Preferential traffic schedules, rationalization schemes other public policy regulations
i) Seasonal variations in demand
ii) Time taken in loading/unloading-whether manual or mechanical
iii) Train examination Systems
• End to End/Intensive Examination
• Premium end to end
• C.C. rake

This in turn results in Sick Wagon detachments & attachment of fit wagons for completing the rake composition.

4. Following is the series of operations for empty rakes being offered for loading:-

• Examination
• Supply/placement
• Loading
• Despatch

5. For inward loaded trains which after placement and release have to be back loaded at the same terminal or at other location, withdrawal from loading points may require an outward examination unless the rake is fit for round trip or for a prescribed distance.

Once the train is fit in all respects and commercial formalities have been complete a set of activities are initiated these include
• Preparation of train documents
• Train ordering,
• Arranging train crew & locomotive
• Monitoring train movement
• Arrival at the destination
This cyclic operation requires constant monitoring and co-ordination.

III. Ordering of Goods Train:

i. Each freight Train is required to be ordered to run under a unique number /name or Train ID for monitoring its movement through intermediate divisions, zones etc as also to facilitate all processes at control offices, yards, C&W depots , station and Crew/Guard booking Lobby Power Controller/Traction Loco Controller.

ii. The message from Divisional Control that a train is scheduled to leave from a Station' or Yard at a certain time, is known as the Train Notice. The message is, in turn further conveyed to all concerned. The availability of suitable (i) Load (ii) Locomotive (iii) Crew/Guard and (iv) Path has to be kept in view for ordering of goods trains.

iii. Co-ordination between the Traffic Controller/and the Power Controller (the shed, if fresh power is required) ; the Yard/Station, C&W staff and the Crew/Guard booking lobby is thus required.

iv. Regular conference with yards, terminals, and the adjoining Division is held by the Control and for exchange of information regarding forecast of trains in yards; completion of loading/unloading at sidings etc. and interchange with adjoining Divisions. This monitoring should be enforced through FOIS so that time of staff spent on phone is reduced and more productive work is done by better planning.

v. Constant monitoring for expediting loading/unloading at major sidings/goods sheds is also done by Control and the Station Staff for ensuring the availability of load.

IV. Planning of Locomotives:

a) Power Plan:

The power plan indicates the daily average number of locos required and planned for freight services section wise for each division. This bare requirement of Locos for Traffic use is calculated on the basis of the traffic turn round and average number of trains run on each section. This represents the average number of locos needed on the Division.

b) Loco Outage and Loco Utilisation:

Loco Outage means the average number of locos available to traffic use in a day (24 hours). Since the Diesel and Electric Locos have long extended runs and may cover many divisions in a day, the position may be maintained graphically for the entire duration (0 to 24 hours) the loco is on line on the Division. Different colour graphic representation on Bar Chart can represent the time spent by each Loco to serve as a good Management Information System e.g. (a) time taken by running train (b) time taken for Crew Changing (c) time for Fuelling (Diesel Locos) (d) time taken for Loco inspection (e) time for repairs on line (f) time for Light Engine running (g) time taken for Shunting (h) time spent at terminal/ destination (i) en-route detention.

Thus, the total hours for which the various Locos were available for Traffic use divided by 24 (number of hours in a day) would give the Loco outage.

Loco outage can be prepared service-wise/shed-wise/railway-wise, traction wise etc. The actual Loco outage should generally be around the target fixed for each Division.

However, it should be appreciated that while the target is based on average, the actual requirement of Locos may fluctuate due to bunching of trains, increase in traffic or due to bottlenecks on account of operational reasons, equipment failure or after effect of interruption to traffic.

c) Control of Operating Department on Loco running :

Electric and Diesel Locos are maintained by the respective loco sheds and locos once turned out of shed are available for utilisation for a number of days till prescribed Maintenance /inspection schedule is due in the shed or the locos require out of course repairs. Thus, while the operating staff has the operational control over utilisation of Loco as well ass flexibility of using the Locos and send the locos to the shed well in time. Overdue running of locos should be avoided by suitably planning the train running. Similarly, all out efforts should be made to send the dead locos or locos requiring attention in the home shed. The hauling capacity of the locos and special restrictions as jointly agreed to by the officers of operations and loco department should also be adhered to.

While operating department has to optimise the work done by each the work done by each Loco i.e. moving maximum traffic with the minimum number of locos by adoption of operational strategies and improving the efficiency, the shed and loco organisation should provide optimum number of locos in good fettle, keeping in view the traffic needs as shortage of locos can dead to transport bottlenecks and inability to move the existing and potential traffic. Along with the availability, reliability, safety and predictability have to be aimed.
Loco failures, loco troubles en-route and ineffective locos should be kept to the bare minimum.

Balancing of locos is also required to be done i.e. Locos without loads may be sent to other Divisions where they are required.
Reduction in terminal detentions and increasing average speed of goods trains would substantially improve engine utilisation.

d) Availability of Engine Crew and Guard:

Running staff for Goods operations are generally booked on the principle of first in and first out; Balancing of Crews/Guards by sending staff spare is also required to be done in case the running of trains is not even in both directions on a section.

e) Availability of path:

Theoretically, on a double line section, a Goods Train can always be run when load, power and crew are available and the next block section is clear. On single line sections dispatching a train out of path, will be counterproductive, due to Mail/Express Blocks, Peak timings of Suburban or Commuter traffic. Readiness of the interchange point of the terminal to accept the trains are to be kept in view before pushing a goods train ahead. It is better to have directional flow if possible.

Master Chart:

Master Charts incorporating all passenger carrying trains and realistic goods train paths are prepared in consultation with Operating Officers, Controllers, Yard Staff, Power Controller, Station Masters of important stations etc. in order to:

i. Find out line capacity of the section.
ii. To highlight the set of suitable paths for guidance of Control, which can
be used for, goods train ordering also.
iii. To prepare tentative goods train time table for selected express stream of

V. Role of Various Agencies in Freight Operation:

Large number of agencies play important role in freight operation. Marshalling Yards, Train Examination, loco motives and lobbies have been discussed else were in this manual. Role of few agencies is discussed below the special reference to freight operations.

Control Office:

The main function of control office is planning, execution and review with all the three activities going on simultaneously.

a. Planning:

Planning is aimed at forecasting and optimising the following :
1. Interchange
2. Trains to be run section wise
3. Supply of rake/for bulk loading
4. Release of inward loaded rake placed for unloading.

Information regarding the following items is generally required for these purposes

a) Analysis of divisional wagon holding
b) Power availability
c) Availability of loads
d) Disposal of empty rakes
e) Demands for loading

The plan is made by control in the yearly hours of morning and reviewed by Operating Officers. Changes in the plan, as deemed necessary are made at various stages on the basis of updated information received from
the activity centers, adjacent divisions and instructions received from the Head Quarters

b. Execution:

The goods operation plan is executed on the basis of actual materialisation of the forecast with suitable adjustment made for short falls/excesses Yards loco sheds stations terminals lobbies & TXR depots are actively involved in execution of the plan.

c) Review:

The trend of the day’s position is reviewed by the CHC and Officers in the afternoon. Detailed review of the previous day’s performance is carried out early in the morning by the operating officers with the following objectives

1. Analysing short falls of previous days to take remedial measures and pin point weak spots
2. Provide data for planning for the current day

The main features of performances which can be reviewed include:

  •  interchange failures
  •  divisional wagon balance (wagons on divisions)
  •  train running
  •  disposition of empties
  •  loading at important terminals – and in the case of short falls reason for the
  • same
  •  reviews of unusual occurrence
  •  examination of control chart
  •  particulars of stable loads
  •  yard performance
  •  unloading on divisions
  •  registration &loading
  •  power position, utilisation of locos and terminal detentions
  •  sick line working
  •  spl type of stock
  •  clearance of piecemeal wagons(sick or otherwise) from road side stations


The divisions freight operations generally required close co-ordination and assistance from other divisions & railways. While direct contact these also maintained by the control & operating officers of various divisions the zonal head quarters play a pivotal role in this respect. Some of the functions performed by the head quarters are summarized below


1. Important information concerning the position freight operations on various divisions of railways in obtained through line and stock report daily telephonically and or through FOIS or tele-printer or FAX to the head quarters( central control) from divisional control, now more & more zones & Railway Board are sitting to FOIS generated reports.
This includes, loading and stock position particulars of old out standing and fresh registrations of indents , categories wise position of unloading , transshipment, yard balance important yards and wagons on divisions , train running on each section, average speed, interchange position, loco motive position and loco motive utilization etc.
The position is reviewed and analyzed by the COM/CFTM/DY.COM GOODS/STM GOODS/CMPE(R&L) & CELE. The important position pertain to various department is conveys to the department to the concerned as well as the G.M. the head quarters office also obtained the statement at
the end of each month or whenever required and the performance is compared with (i) the targets, (ii) the figures of the previous months (iii) the figures of the corresponding months of the previous years and (iv) the best ever record etc.
In addition the statistical branch also provides the data to the general manager and the department concerned with operation for detains analysis and review.

2. Head quarters and important part in planning and coordination fright operations after detailed conference with the operation officers and in terms of Railway Board current operating directives head quarters issue direction and instruction the regarding the following items

a) Interchange tractions( categories wise)
b) Loading & unloading
c) Traffics in sight from other Railway/division this information is now available on FOIS terminal where a pipe line can be seen from end to end and expected arrival of trains at destination is also estimated by FOIS system.
d) Convey priority for the day & set quantified objectives to be achieved
e) Reviewing the work done at the important activity centre by yard terminals etc
f) Train in traffic regulation in case of accident etc
g) Certain items of goods operations are directly control by Head Quarters e.g. Coordination & directions regarding rake loading of programmed and committed traffic movement of special type of stock movement of O.D.C.s out of turn allotments and allotment despite restrictions etc.


The Railway Board provides unity of control & direction of the freight operations. It also has the important role of supervisions and coordination which is very much essential for a big network like Indian Railways. the
Railway Boards Control office also remains in contact with the head quarters (central control) of the zonal head quarters and watches loading and movement of important extremes of traffics , like coal, raw material for steel plant (iron ore), food grains, cement, fertilizers, POL, sugar export ores, contained traffic etc it also watches loading interchange power position, goods train running important section etc to ensure that each
Railway fulfills its obligation and optimises the use of various assets , the items watched are or lays the same as those watched by the zonal h.q. in respect of the divisions, but the prospective is wider. Railway Board placed and important coordinating role in various Railway and others central government department and vital sectors of economy connected with Railway, policy formulation and planning which have important bearing on fright operation is also on the measure function of the Railway Board.

IX. Role of some other departments:

The commercial department plays an important role in canvassing for traffic, improving marketing, customer relations, in general booking of traffic, expediting loading / unloading of wagons, quick disposal of unconnected wagons and transshipment of wagons detached out of course for hot axle etc.
The various the departments like Mechanical, Electrical, Civil Engineering and S&T provide and maintain various assets and infrastructure (Track, Wagons, Engines, S&T network etc.). These departments also ensure sufficient availability, reliability, predictability, safety and reduction in equipment failures, promptness in restoration in case of breakdowns and accidents should also be ensured. They also endeavor for the achievements in technology up-gradation along with the operating strategies and determine the level of excellence in railway operations to a great extent in nutshell, all the functionaries have to work a dedicated team.

X. Some indices of freight operation and efficiency:

The important operating statistics, most of which are indices of operating efficiency, have been discussed in detail later in this manual (Operating  Statistics). Some indices of freight operations and efficiency are high lighted below.

i. Wagon holding:

For a given amount of originating loading and receipts of loaded wagons from other railways and making an allowance for percentage of staff out of commission for repairs etc., there is an optimum number of wagons that a railway and separately its constituent divisions should hold to maintain the fluidity of transport system. More wagons than the optimum number might lead to increase in the repairs and maintenance percentage heavier detentions to wagons and trains and transport bottle necks that is more congestion in siding s yards and section without a proportionate increase in the tons lifted, or in the efficiency of operations. Similarly excessive shortage of wagons may lead to loss of traffic. Proper estimation and projection of requirement, proper planning and working at various stages of freight operation is necessary for keeping wagon holding low “ ineffective stock” percentage should also be kept minimum.

ii. Interchange balance :

Maintenance of the interchanged target is an indication of railways overall operating performance and its effort to meet inter railway obligations hence interchanged balanced should be very high, even when maximum trains are inter changed. However, attempts should be made to see that on busy sections, inter change is not only confined to few hours of the day but uniformly distributed.

iii. Load of trains:

A train is a unit of transport. Depending upon the load a suitable loco is provided for its haulage in order to get the optimum use of motive power and to increase the capacity utilization and throughput, each locomotive is given a load approximately to the maximum hauling capacity, unless operating necessity requires utilization of a loco for lesser load. The stations should also ensure that wagons are loaded to the carrying capacity or the minimum weight prescribed for some commodities

iv. Loading and unloading:

To optimize the loading is one of the most important items in the freight operation because it is through loading that Railway earns the maximum revenue. Similarly, unloading is necessary so that wagon becomes available for the next loading. Reducing the time taken for loading / unloading by technology up gradation and other strategies in coordination with the customers has to be endeavourer.

v. Empty Running:

Ideally it is waste of transport capacity to run a wagon empty or with light load, but much of empty running is inescapable on account of the unbalanced nature and quantity of outward and inward traffic at terminals
and necessity of supplying empty wagons. Certain special type of wagons for POL, steel Coal, Natural Gas, Ammonia, LPG etc. have to be generally run empty to the loading points. Operating skill lies in avoiding or reducing the extent of empty haulage and cross movements of similar type of empty stock.

vi. Dispatch in block rakes:

Dispatching of wagons in small numbers always means transit delay while a block load can go direct to the farthest destination skipping many yards, thereby eliminating detention that the wagons might have suffered in the intermediate yards. Piecemeal wagons passing through a number of marshalling yards, where they have to be combined with other wagons to form train loads, cause huge amount of work for the staff and the result in
loss of efficiency, avoidable delay, anxiety and uncertainty regarding their arrival at destination. Unit train movement, i.e. a train load consigned by single consignee to single consignor, is ideal. Consignees can also be motivated to club indents to get train load and block rakes.

Also two points loading on same engine run can improve wagon usage. Close circuit rake movement can also be resorted to between selected pair of stations or rakes. Maintaining the purity of freight rakes has also to be ensured.

vii. Long distance trains:

It is an age – old principle of operation that full train loads should be formed at the earliest point for the longest possible distance. Long distance trains should have least stoppages like long distance passenger
trains. Trains can also be run as “crack trains” or “Link trains”. A crack train / link train is a train when the same crew (and engine if possible) instead of ‘signing off’ at the intermediate crew changing point
works a train to farther junction. Thus, a train running from Ujjain to Godhra or vice versa without crew / Guard change at Ratlam can be run as X ‘Crack’. The crew can also be utilized on ‘crack’ basis when the same crew perform a round trip without ‘signing off’ at the outstation and is promptly provided a load so that crew returns to its head quarters within normal duty hours.

viii. Wagon Turn Round: captive

The interval between two successive loadings calculated from the time a wagon is placed for loading till the time it again becomes available for loading is the actual turn round. As the calculations for individual wagons in the manner stated above are not practicable, the following statistical formula is generally used.

Where ‘S’ stand for the effective daily wagon holding or midnight wagon balance of a day (excluding sick, POH wagons in or waiting for shops, like departmental wagons, wagons lent for departmental use, and the wagons used for coaching traffic). ‘L’ stands for the total number of wagons loaded on the Division / Railways plus the wagons loaded at Transhipment Point, ‘R’ stands for the total number of loaded wagons received from other Railway / Divisions. Thus, for example, if a Division load 350 Wagons on BG (including 50 BG wagons loaded through transshipment of MG wagons), 150 inward loaded wagons are received from other Divisions and its effective wagon holding at the end of the day (midnight) is 2250 wagons, the Divisional Wagon Turn Round will be 4.5 days.

ix. Detention to Trains and Wagons:

a. Detention to trains:
A check on the detention to trains (1) outside signals or at stations adjacent to Goods terminals, (2) in shunting operations at road side stations and (3) enroute detentions for various reasons should be exercised regularly.
b. Detention to wagons:
Close watch should be kept on the areas, e.g. Marshalling yards, goods terminals, stabling points etc., where wagons are likely to suffer avoidable detention during various phases. Although this is watched through periodical data, special attention should be paid to pockets, where piecemeal wagons suffer prolonged detention and often remain out of sight.

x. Engine Utilisation:

Engines being costly resources their utilization have to be carefully monitored. Some of the measures for improving engine utilization are as under:
(a) Running of the Goods Trains on proper path: For this, the Master Charts have to be properly framed and consolidated.
(b) Proper co-ordination between Control and Line Staff.
(c) Reduction in Terminal detention of Locos by proper monitoring coordination and working of Yard Staff, C&W Staff etc.
(d) Judicious ordering of Trains and Right time starts of Goods Trains.
(e) Proper controlling, judicious crossings and preferences.
(f) Loop Lines on critical block sections should not be generally blocked.
(g) Stabling and picking up of load should be judicious and properly planned.
(h) Loco pilot should run at maximum permissible speed subject to restrictions.
(i) Light Engines can be coupled or attached to trains in order to save path and energy.
(j) Light Engines (Single or Couple) should run at maximum permissible speed, for which they are fit, subject to speed restrictions
(k) Signals must be taken off promptly at Stations. Distant/Warner Signals must always be taken off promptly.
(l) Tangible authority to proceed should be handed over at the appointed place instead of getting the train slowed down in front of the Station for handing over the Authority from the Platform.
(m) Trains should be run through Main Line (as far as possible) since looping results in extra time on run.
(n) Locomotives should be in good working order and staff should be well versed in Loco operations and trouble shooting.
(o) Hauling capacity of the Locomotives should be properly utilised.
(p) Engineering speed restrictions should be regularly reviewed and reduced by maximising the output of the Engineering staff and machines. Due care and foresight in offering blocks for track maintenance should be exercised.
(q) Regular foot plating by officers and staff involved in operations, motivates train crew and alerts the line staff.
(r) Effective control over traffic yards to reduce other engine hours, detention to locos at important loading/unloading points and industrial sidings.
(s) The factors adversely affecting the Locomotive utilisation, speed of goods train, terminal detention etc. should be got analysed by suitable multi departmental teams and remedial measures taken.
(t) Incentive schemes for motivation of staff connected with Goods Operation, so as to improve Engine utilisation Special watch on Loco pilots loosing time on run and not running on maximum permissible speed.

xi) Average speed of goods trains:

If we want to determine the average speed of various goods trains running over a section during a particular period. There are two methods of calculating the speed of goods trains. For day to day review the speed of
goods train is calculated from the control charts. It is generally calculated section wise and for up and down directions separately. It may be calculated for each train, the total time taken by all the trains in the section is added up, and the distance of the section multiplied by the number of trains divided by the total time taken will give the average speed for all trains on the section.

Statistical Method:-

Following factors affect the speed of goods trains:
i. Bad planning
ii. Improper ordering of trains
iii. Late start from yards / stations
iv. Improper crossing and precedence of trains by SCOR

Measures for improving average speed of good trains could broadly be classified into the following two categories:-
a) Long term measures.
b) Organisational Measures

a) Long term measures for increasing speeds as follows-

1. Improvements in Locomotives.
2. Improvements in Wagons
3. Improvements in Track
4. Improvements in Signalling and interlocking
5. Increase in section capacity

b) Organisational measures to improve average speed of goods trains-

1. Time table improvements.
2. Review of running times
3. Bunching of trains with similar speeds.
4. Reducing dissimilarity in speeds to minimum
5. Running of Link, Crack and Jet trains.
6. Improving staff efficiency-such as controllers, station staff, Loco Pilots and guards.
7. Proper working of Yards and terminals
8. Proper planning of remodeling works.
9. Simplification of rules for trains working.
10. Monitoring of goods trains by officers and inspectors.

Average speed of goods train as an index of operating efficiency:

Average speed of goods trains have a marked influence on the turn round of engine and crews and also on the utilization of section capacities. Lower average speeds of goods trains generally result in congestions of sections which are saturated which further reduces the speeds. Thus, a very harmful cycle is created leading to lower availability of powers and crews, lesser clearance from yards and further congestions. Many times the only way to break the harmful cycle is to impose restrictions, regulate traffic and thus cause loss to railway revenues.

XI. Staff Supervisions:

Excellence in freight operations requires that the staff offer their willing cooperation. To achieve this proper training for constantly developing the knowledge, skills and commitment is essential.

XII. Targets and Statistics:

One of the important means to utilise fully and efficiently the existing carrying capacity of a railway is to set measurable and specific targets for the various performances after taking into consideration all the local conditions. .Once the targets are laid down, all possible efforts must be made to attain them. The targets should be set sufficiently high and reviewed constantly with a view to improving the performance further. Details regarding Statistics pertaining to Railway Operations are given in chapter on Operating Statistics where targets are not attained within a reasonable period, the causes must be traced and effective remedial action taken, if necessary, revised targets should be laid down.



Movement of wagon load traffic, is regulated by what is known as the Schedule of Preferential Traffic, laid down by the Central Government (Railway Board) under Section 71 Of The Railways Act, 1989 and is designed to ensure that certain essential commodities and urgent movements are accorded necessary preference at a time when the available transport is not adequate to meet with all the demands. Traffic is classified into 4 categories viz., A, B, C, and D. Commodities registered in the lower categories cannot have preference over those registered in the higher categories although the former may have been registered much earlier.

1. This Priority Schedule is decided by Traffic Transportation Directorate of Railway Board.
2. It lists the Sponsoring Authority and Accepting Authority for programmed traffic.

Section 71 of the Railways Act, 1989 the Central Government hereby directs that all Railway Administrations shall give special facilities for or preference to the
transport of goods/class of goods at a station/siding as per priority/preference in the following order:

Priority ‘A’- Military traffic, when sponsored by MILRAIL and approved by
Railway Board.
Priority ‘B’- a) Goods for emergency work for victims of natural calamities, like floods, drought, earthquake etc. b) Programmed traffic like food grains and levy sugar for public distribution system.
Priority ‘C’- All Programmed traffic, commodities when sponsored and accepted by authority.
Priority ‘D’- All traffic not included in priority ‘A’ to ‘C’.


1. Traffic will have preference over other traffic within the same class of priority in the following order:
a) Traffic covered by contractual obligations and/or guaranteed under specific schemes like Wagon Investment Scheme, Freight Forwarder Scheme, Terminal Incentive –cum-Engine-On-Load scheme (TIELS) etc.
b) Traffic in rakes loaded from a Siding/Good shed having round the clock working.
c) Traffic in rakes a full rake handling siding having mechanized system of loading.
2. Traffic offered for distance of more than 800 kms will have preference over other traffic within the same classification and priority.
3. Traffic offered in block rakes, including clubbed indents constituting a block rake will be given preference over traffic in piecemeal irrespective of the class of priority and date of registration.
4. Traffic offered in single point block rakes will be given preference over two point/multi-points block rakes and mini rakes within the same class of priority.
5. Any traffic can be accorded preferential loading and movement under a higher priority under special orders issued by the Ministry of Railways, Railway Board/Zonal Railways.
6. Two days in a week shall be reserved and notified for allotment of rakes as per the date of registration irrespective of the class of priority.





i. The purpose of this Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to delineate responsibilities and procedures for the control and coordination of all responses to emergency situations on the mainline.

ii. To provide step by step guidance on how to deal with incidents should they happen.

iii. Particular note should be taken of the need to provide suitable training to keep staff aware of what needs to be done in the event of a serious incident.

1. Objectives of incident Management Plan.

In Order of priority these are:
a. Save lives and alleviate suffering
b. Provide help to stranded passengers and arrange their prompt evacuation.
c. Instill a sense of security amongst all concerned by providing accurate information.
d. Protect Railway property.
e. Ascertain the cause of accident, preserving clues by cordoning of incident site etc.
f. Expedite restoration of train operation.

There is a difference between a disaster and an accident. All disaster need not be the outcome of train accident, neither are all accidents classified as disaster.

Accidents are occurrences where safety has been affected. Disasters are those situations, which cause acute distress to passengers, employees and outsiders and may even be caused by external factors and unless promptly managed the distress levels are likely to increase with time.

2. List of serious incidents requiring use of this plan.:

a) Fire, smoke emission, explosion in railway premises including train.
b) Derailment of a passenger carrying train.
c) Collision of a train/ trains.
d) Security threats / Terrorist attacks, widespread violence, bomb explosion.
e) Release of Chemical or biological gas in trains, stations or tunnel.
f) Natural calamities like cyclone, floods and earth quakes.

3. Definitions : In the context of Indian Railways, unusual events are classified as under:

a) Incidents - which cause delay to trains.
b) Accidents - which have the potential or do actually cause loss of life and or injury and damage to property.
c) Emergency / Serious Accidents / Disaster – these may or may not necessarily be the outcome of train accidents but have the potential to cause loss of life and or injury to human beings causing further death / injury and wide spread and prolonged distress to all those involved unless tackled in an effective manner.
d) Disaster Management Team (A team of Railway officials earmarked to reach incident site by first available means & take over site management) at Zonal, Divisional and area / major station levels.
4. Scope: This SOP is applicable to all IR personnel working on the Open Line.

5. Responsibility :

a) The Assistant Operations Manager Divisional Control Office, or designated Divisional Control Office Supervisor, is responsible for the overall control and coordination of emergency situations on the mainline.

b) The OCS (officer in charge site) is responsible for overall control and coordination of all activities at the incident scene under instruction of Divisional Control.

c) Traction, Track and Structure, Signalling and Telecommunication, fire service and security personnel are responsible for providing technical assistance to divisional control office & OC site.

d) Rolling Stock Department is responsible for providing technical assistance to Divisional Contrail Office and OCS, as required and managing site restoration work.

e) Station operations and Commercial personnel are responsible for making appropriate station announcements, and providing information, rendering first aid, mobilising medical & fire services & assistance from civil administration, including police and providing all other assistance in alleviating suffering and hardship to passengers and others.

f) The Guards in charge & Loco pilot in the area affected by the incident are responsible for :
i. Providing their passengers with up to date and timely information regarding the situation’s status and / or progress ; and
ii. Operating their trains in compliance with applicable rules and procedures and Divisional Control Office instructions.
g) Government Railway Police and Railway Protection personnel are responsible securing the incident scene and for performing / directing investigation activities in compliance with existing procedures. (In case of
incidents caused by criminal acts)

h) The senior police official at the scene is responsible for controlling and coordinating all police activities at all times. In doing so, this official has final authority to determine when these activities are complete and shall
coordinate these activities with the OCS and the senior fire services official.
i) Security Personnel will assist Civil / Railway Police, Fire services personnel, medical services or station staff as directed by OCS.

6. General :

The following is the list of personnel authorized to act as officer in charge site (OCS) This list also indicates the probable change of command at the scene.
a. Train Superintendent or Guard of the affected train.
b. Loco pilot
c. Station Manager / Station Master.
d. Rail Operations Supervisor or Traffic Inspector.
e. Any Railway Officer, either on duty, of duty or on leave, present at the site of incident.
f. Member of Division Disaster Management Team.

When none of the above mentioned personnel are present at the scene, Divisional Control Office shall appoint an OCS as directed by DRM from the personnel available.

Guard in charge, Loco pilot and Station Manager must assume and carry out the responsibilities of the OCS until relieved.
The first Guard in charge / Loco pilot, on the scene, shall act as the OCS until he / she is relieved by the first senior personnel / Rail Operations Supervisor to arrive. The Rail Operations Supervisor shall continue acting as the OCS until he / she is relieved by an authorized senior official or released by DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE after another OCS has been designated. However, it is the responsibility of DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE to select the most qualified person, for the type of incident, to act as the OCS. The mere presence or arrival of an authorized senior official at the scene shall not indicate his/her assumption of command as OCS. Such senior official shall remain in an evaluating capacity unless he / she
specifically assume command. The method of managing an emergency situation will be in compliance with the applicable Zonal Railway Rules and procedures contained in Accident Manual, Disaster Management Manual or as directed by DIVISIONAL CONTROL OFFICE during incidents not covered by Rules or
Procedures. The OCS has the authority and the responsibility to command the presence of any personnel and equipment required at the scene and to command the removal of any unnecessarily personnel or equipment from the scene. This does not apply to police or Fire Department personnel. Entry in to the incident area by the news media or other visitors must be authorized by the CPRO and shall be coordinated with Divisional Control Office, Divisional Railway Manager, OCS and Metro Police.

When it is necessary to notify the fire services, and / or to seek medical assistance the following information shall be provided:
a. Identification of caller;
b. Nature of problem (give in plain English / Hindi e.g. fire, flood, smoke, injuries) ;
c. Type of assistance requested; be specific
d. Specific location of the problem and the best access points.

7. Procedure : The chief controller / Operations Manager of Divisional Control Office, or designated Divisional Control Office Supervisor shall:
a. Ensure that ARME & ART is turned out on time.
b. Appoint the initial OCS.
c. Co ordinate all field activities and requests through the OCS.
d. Notify members of Disaster Management Team and all departments and personnel, as required.
e. Coordinate and direct the safe movement of all trains, to include those trains which may be involved in the incident:
f. Request police / RPF assistance in critical stations for crowd control.
g. Keep Loco pilots and Station Managers informed of system status and instruct them to make appropriate announcements to their passengers:
h. Ensure that system-wide public address announcements are made frequently to provide patrons with up-to-date information concerning Rail System status:
i. Coordinate and assist OCS with restoration activities.
j. Provide and obtain, from OCS frequent updates on events
k. Inform Commissioner Railway Safety and local civil authorities as per procedures in vogue in the event of train accidents like, derailment, Collision, fire, terrorist attack etc. of a passenger carrying train or any other
accident relating to train operation resulting in death and / or grievous injury
(as per Railway Act provision.)

The OCS shall:

a. Ensure that the safety of passengers and personnel at the incident scene is maintained; ascertaining that all injured and stranded passengers have been safely evacuated. Till evacuation is complete necessary succor in the form of drinking water, tea & edibles are made available to stranded passengers.
b. Ensure that all personnel involved, at the scene, work efficiently to restore rail service as quickly and safely as possible.
c. Control and coordinate all field activities with personnel at the scene.
d. Coordinate all police related activities and requirements with the senior police official at the scene.
e. Coordinate activities with the senior Fire Department official at the scene and, when available, provide the Fire Department Command Post with a
knowledgeable employee, to act as a communications link to Divisional and Central control and to the OCS.
f. To the senior official at the scene.
g. And activities at the incident site and keep Divisional Control Office informed of progress.
h. Establish a command post; at the incident scene direct all inquiries and / or requests made by jurisdictional police officials, appoint individual (s) to provide public address announcements, at five (5) minute intervals, to
passengers of the incident train and or inside the incident station.
i. Direct all inquiries and / or request made by the news media to the CPRO Office.
j. Maintain a chronological log of all events.

Station Operations / commercial Personnel shall:

  • Make appropriate station announcements
  • Assist Policy with crowd control : and
  • Make every effort to identify and retain knowledgeable witnesses or to obtain their testimony along with their address.

Guards and Loco Pilots shall:

a. Operate their trains in compliance with applicable rules and procedures and 
b. Keep their passengers informed by making frequent announcements regarding system and delay status.
All Rail personnel at the incident scene shall honour the requests of and obey the directions of the OCS.

Emergency Control in the Zonal Office

Emergency control shall be manned by designated officers as per procedure laid down. It shall take prompt action to inform concerned officers, plan all assistance to the Division. Mobilize resources and manpower.
Seek GM / COM’s approval to relay the information to Railway Board Regulate traffic on the affected line, on adjoining divisions and Zonal railways, to include train cancellation, diversion, rerouting, road bridging and air lifting of stranded passengers.
CPRO will continuously brief media to inform passengers of the current status of rail situation.

Duties of Commercial Staff in case of Accident.

1. On receipt of information of accident from the Operating Emergency control following Officials of commercial departments at HQ will be informed by the Commercial Control of the headquarter : (Designation of HODs and DyHODs may differ from zone to zone)
a. CCM
b. CCM/G
c. CCO
d. CCM / Passenger Services and Marketing
e. Dy. CCM General
f. Dy. CCM Catering
g. SCM General

2. Nominated Commercial officials (Para no. 3) on receipt of information of train accident would proceed to the site of accident by the quickest available means.
In case of serious accidents involving trains CCO (in absence of CCO, CCM (S&M) or CCM / IT will proceed to the site of accident. CCM/G will remain in commercial control)
3. Centers of Activity :
a. Headquarter
b. Divisional Commercial Control
c. Site of Accident

Headquarter :

i. Commercial control will have DOT and railway Telephones, FAX, photocopier machine and a PC with an Internet. The details are as under : Telephone Nos. P & T; Railway and Fax.

ii. Commercial Control office in Headquarter would be manned by officers round the clock basis. In case of serious accident of passenger carrying trains, CCM/G will immediately come to Control office. In his absence CCM (T) / CCM (S&M) and Dy. CCM / G will come to the Control office. If Dy. CCM/G is not available, SCM/G will attend. Thereafter, Control duties will be assigned as per roster for manning the Control office round the clock. Besides regular staff manning commercial control at least one officer and one inspector will remain in the control round the clock. Officer deputed will be responsible for proper functioning of the control.

iii. Headquarter Commercial Control would collect following information :

a. Time and place of accident from Operating Emergency Control.
b. Details of dead / injured passengers, rescue operation, helps/ assistance being rendered at the site of accident enroot operations, helps/ assistance being rendered at the site of accident, enroute etc. from the divisional Commercial control at the site of accident.
c. Details of specials being run to the accident site and official accompanying from Operating Emergency Control.
d. CCM / IT will get the reservation charts printed and supplied to control. In addition the addresses as per requisition slips shall also be get collected by CCM/IT & supplied to Commercial control, and Divisional Control.

iv. Commercial control at HQ will maintain:
a. Telephone and FAX numbers of the control at accident site manned by commercial officer.
b. Names and phone numbers of hospitals where injured are admitted / (i) with names of passengers and (ii) location of dead bodies identified (iii) digital photographs of all all injured and dead transmitted through
computer network to be displayed and at sites or telecast & all enquiry offices.
c. Telephone and FAX numbers of enquiry offices that would have been set up at various stations including at other Zonal Railway.
v. Commercial control in the Headquarters office would constantly monitor the information relayed from the divisions and other railways regarding the dead and injured persons and enquiry offices opened at important stations.
vi. Commercial control in the Headquarters office will monitor coordinate regarding assistance required by the division from other divisions / other railways in terms of deployment of material, staff and officers.
vii. In case of confirmation of death / injury the Commercial control will inform the concerned division / railway (Commercial Control) to convey the information to the family of affected passengers.
viii. Maintain a log of events.

Divisional Control :

i. Control offices will have DOT/RLY, Telephones, FAX, photo copier machine and a PC with an internet connection. The details of telephones and faxes of all the divisions should be clear.
ii. Commercial control in Division would be manned by officers on round the clock basis. In case of serious accident of passenger carrying trains, DCM in his absence, DCM/Catering, where available or one of the ACMs will immediately come to the Control office. Second senior most officer of the division will work as in charge of the Commercial control.
iii. Divisional Commercial would collect the following information from Divisional Emergency Control/accident site:-
a) Time and place of accident from Operating Emergency Control office.
b) Details of causalities- dead/injured and safe passengers from operating emergency Control office.
c) Details of specials begin run to accident site and official accompanying from Operating Emergency Control office and monitor their arrangements.
d) Details of rescue operations and assistance being rendered to the affected passengers.
iv. Information collected should be relayed to all concerned including HQ Commercial control, Enquiry offices opened at stations through phone, fax, etc. without delay.
v. Commercial Control in Division will maintain:
a. Telephone and FAX numbers of the accident site.
b. Names and phone numbers of hospital where injured are admitted and dead bodies shifted, and
c. Telephone and FAX numbers of enquiry offices that would be set up at various Stations including at other Zonal Railways.
d. Name of Commercial Officers deployed in each hospital.
vi. Divisional control will advise headquarters commercial control, details of assistance required from Headquarter or the adjoining divisions.
vii. Maintain a log of events.

Site of Accident: Sr. DCM in his absence, DCM will attend site of accident and work as site in charge of the Commercial department.

I. Setting of Control Office at the site:

i) Division would set up a control office at the site with telephone, FAX and Public Announcement System (PAS) to be manned by Commercial, Security and Medical departments.
ii) Announcement would be made for registering the names of injured passengers, and the list would be verified by Doctor to be relayed to the Control offices at the division and headquarters, separately indicating the extent of injury viz. Trivial, simple & grievous.
iii) Control office at the site will be manned by Assistant Commercial Officers on round the clock basis.
iv) The site control office would maintain a long book. Flow of information both incoming and outgoing would be recorded along with the time and names of the officers / staff who were given information to keep track of chronology of events.
v) Commercial officers / personnel at site will NOT interact with the press. 
vi) All necessary arrangements for refund as per rules should be made.
vii) A manual/guide be made available with train crew like; TTEs, AC Coach
Attendants, AC Pantry Car Staff, which will inter-alia to include Dos and
DONTs for them in case of accidents.
viii) Commercial Control will ensure that at stations where trains are
  • Delayed
  • Diverted, or
  • Terminated.
Additional alphabetical list of passengers on board with their current status must be available and displayed at enquiry counters for quicker dissemination of information. It will be ensured by CCM/IT and divisional Commercial officers.

II. Rescue:

Sr. DCM will ensure the following functions.
i) Sufficient number of TTEs/TCs and licensed porters in uniform would be rushed to the site. The required personnel would be mobilized from the affected division and the neighboring divisions by the quickest available means. For this purpose TTEs from the divisional squad should be utilized. Requirement of staff could be continuously reviewed and augmented depending on the assessment of the officer in charge of site.
ii) Arrangements will be made for speedy dispersal of stranded passengers of the train(s) involved in the accident, as well as of trains regulated or terminated as a result of the accident in association with operating
department. In case of non availability of rail services, adequate arrangements should be made to disperse them by arranging road vehicles etc. This would be done by site in charge.
iii) Depending upon the need, accommodation in hotels/Dharmashalas would be hired for accommodating passengers and providing resting facilities to officials working at the site.
iv) Make arrangements to inform the next of kith & kin of the deceased/injured persons involved in accident. It will be done free of cost.
v) TTEs of the affected train will not leave site of accident till ordered by the site in charge.
vi) Train Superintendent or Conductor or senior most Ticket Checking staff till a commercial officer from division reaches to the site of accident, will allot duties to each available ticket Checking/other Commercial
staff/volunteers in a manner to ensure maximum help to passengers under the prevalent circumstances. The function will be taken over by a Commercial officer as soon as he reaches to the site of accident.
vii) Duties of ticket checking staff on board will be:
a. Collect Railway staff, Doctors and volunteers on the train or near the accident site for obtaining assistance.
b. Provide assistance to Guard in making quick assessment of assistance required.
c. To carry out the duties assigned to them by Guard/Senior official present at the site of the accident.
d. Take action to save lives and render First Aid and organize relief operations with the available assistance.
viii) In case of involvement of Goods train, following actions will be taken promptly.
a. Arrangements of adequate labour by mobilizing resources available at other stations as well as from the market locally, for unloading of material from the wagons involved in accident.
b. Adequate tarpaulins to cover the contents so that these are saved from rains etc.
c. Arrangements of gunny bags etc. for retrieval of loose materials lying at the site of accident.
d. Consignor / consignee would be informed regarding involvement of their consignments in accident besides intimating forwarding / destination station. The information will be conveyed through the commercial control of the division / HQ as the case may be. Also to make arrangements for delivery of the consignments at the site of accident if they desire.
e. Arrangements of road transport for evacuation of the contents from the site of accident.
f. To coordinate with the Operating branch for supply of adequate empty stock for transshipment / disposal of the contents.
g. Till such time, the consignment involved in the accident is not removed / transported; the same shall be made over to RPF In charge for security purposes.
ix) Staff using their personal mobile phones in connection with the accident will be eligible for a lump sum grant of Rs. 200/- without any clerical work to be performed in accidents.
x) In case of bodies, which remain unclaimed / unidentified, the division shall get such bodies photographed by hiring a photographer. Each body will be given a number, which can be displayed, on the body of the dead for subsequent identification.

III. Safety of passengers / Passengers luggage:

i) Separate tent for packages / bags and belongings of the injured and dead should be arranged and guarded with the help of RPF at site.
ii) A list of each item with distinguishing marks should be made.
iii) Luggage claimed should be handed over on the satisfactory proof of ownership.
iv) Unclaimed items will be safely transferred to one of the stations and for this purpose, if need be, road vehicles will be utilized/hired. Their personal belongings are useful in establishing identify of deceased/missing.

IV. Catering arrangements:

It will be ensured by the site in charge.
i) Sr. DCM will ensure that adequate eatables, water etc. is available at the site of accident in case of involvement of a passenger carrying train in an accident. This arrangement will be made for the passengers free of charge at the site of accident and at roadside station where train involved in the accident is stable temporarily.
ii) Gas stoves, Gas cylinders, drinking water, provisions for preparation of meals, etc., should be rushed to site for left over stranded passengers and officials involved in rescue operations. This will be augmented later, if necessary. Sufficient cooks and catering staff from departmental catering or catering contractor would be ensured at the site for arranging tea, biscuits, packed meals like poories and vegetables to the stranded passengers, and staff engaged in rescue and restoration.
iii) Sr. DCMs would prepare advance section-wise nomination of catering agencies both departmental and private for rushing to site.
iv) To supplement railways catering arrangements, nearby Dhabas and hotels should be contacted and arrangements made for opening up stalls at the site.

V. Hospitals:

i) One assistant officer each in the hospital will be deputed to look after where injured passengers are admitted or dead passengers are kept. In case of nonavailability of assistant officer, one CMI/ Inspector/ Sr. supervisor will be deputed by Sr. DCM. All dead bodies must be photographed after wiping their faces to establish identify.
ii) The nominated officer will work in close coordination with doctors and render required help.
iii) Officer in charge of the hospital will assist kith and kin of the passengers involved in disposal of dead bodies, release injured passengers.
iv) Deputed official will obtain details like names, address etc. of hospitalized/dead passengers. He will also obtain the details of injured, nature of injuries with the help of doctors and convey it to the divisional commercial controller.

VI. Payment of ex-gratia:

i) Payment of ex-gratia at the site as well as in the hospitals will be arranged on the basis of the identification of injuries by the doctors.
ii) Sr.DCM/DCM will ensure availability of sufficient cash for payment of ex gratia. 
iii) CCO will also depute claims officials at the site/hospitals to assist the relatives of the injured/dead passengers regarding filling of claims for compensation.
iv) If some injured passengers/kith and kin of deceased involved in accident have not been paid ex-gratia at the site of accident or in the hospital, arrangements should be made to pay at their residence by deputing officials of the division or seeking help of the other divisions/railway. Such payment will be witnessed by the Pradhan or Sarpanch or any other responsible official of the area.

VII. Enquiry offices at the important stations enroute.

This function will be ensured by the in charge available in divisional control. 

i) Emergency offices would be opened at important stations as per the route of the train. On the basis of need, enquiry offices would be opened at other important stations also
ii) All these enquiry offices should have DOT and Railway telephone with STD facility, FAX machine, photocopier and a PC with internet connection. Identical telephone numbers will be preferred.
iii) These enquiry offices would be manned on round the clock basis by deputing additional staff. It will be supervised by a commercial officer, where feasible/commercial inspector/CIT.
iv) These control offices should constantly keep in touch with the divisional commercial control.
v) Emergency offices would display the list of dead and injured passengers at the notice board at stations.
vi) Officers attending these emergency offices would not interact with the press.
vii) Sr. DCMs will prepare their own contingency plan on similar lines.
viii) Withdrawal of money from station earnings: 

Money withdrawn from station earnings will also be used for relief operations like purchase of items immediately required, hiring of vehicles and other equipments directly.

High Level Committee’s Report on Disaster Management:

Indian Railways do have a well-established system for disaster response, which has been fine-tuned over a century and a half of its existence. The system delivers what it has been designed to do. But increasing traffic density, longer length of trains with lot more passengers per train and higher operational speeds drive the need to change the system.
The Ministry of Railways have constituted a high level committee to review the disaster management system of IR and give recommendations for strengthening and streamlining the same.
The committee consists of the following:
1. Member Mechanical                                       Convenor
2. Member Traffic                                              Member
3. Dierector General (RHS)                                Member
4. Director General (RPF)                                  Member
5. Additional Member (Budget)                          Member
6.Executive Director / Safety                              Secretary

The terms of reference of the committee are:

a. To review the existing disaster management system over IR related to train accidents and natural calamities and to suggest improvements.
b. To identify the technological and managerial inputs in order to quicken the pace of relief and rescue operations.
c. To institute a standing arrangement with other central ministries, state governments and armed forces to enable quick and smooth restoration operations without any legal or procedural hurdles.

In India, Railways have been historically handling rescue and relief operations in railway accidents, and therefore IR has to rise to the expectations of the public.
Significant technological advancements have taken place in the area of post disaster relief and rescue operations. Consequently, a number of state of the art relief and rescue equipment, tools and plants and innovative techniques have emerged for quickening the pace of rescue and relief operations.

It is natural and logical that in most of railway accidents / disasters, the relief in the form of response arrives quickly in urban / vicinity of urban areas. However, in case of remote area accident / disasters, factors such as lack of communication, lack of immediate accessibility, covering of distance gap to reach the site of accident and conveyance of equipment and trained manpower create serious problems for carrying out rescue and relief.
The committee believes that IR’s first responsibility in case of accidents is to reach and extricate accident victims and organize effective trauma care. The basic principle of trauma management is speed & expediency – “Most trauma patients die of shock, which comes from sluggish or non-existent circulation and the resulting chemical changes in the body.”

Thus the first hour after the accident is termed as “The Golden Hour” as

  • Most trauma patients can be saved if bleeding is effectively stopped and blood pressure restored within an hour.
  • It is likely that patients, who have experienced shock and remain in the state of shock for long duration, will die. Surgical intervention within that first one hour is, therefore, crucial for increasing the patient’s chances of survival.
  • This hour, called “The Golden Hour”, begins the moment the injury occurs. 
Therefore, the basic steps for quick and effective rescue and relief operations are following:
a. Rapid access to the site of accident
b. Quick extrication of victims and effective on-site medical management.
c. Stabilization of condition
d. Expeditious extraction and shifting to rescue vehicle(s)
e. Speedy transportation to hospital.

The committee believes that in case of major accidents involving hundreds of lives, there is a need for better managerial and technological inputs for the Disaster Management System to function satisfactorily.

Being the multi-departmental emergency function, needing a high degree of precision, speed & coordination, the post accident management leaves some deficiencies and lacunae occasionally. These are corrected and updated periodically.
To ensure that IR’s organized disaster management system is designed such that the victims are retrieved within the “Golden Hour”, it would require ARMVs/ ARTs to be based at each and every station.

The concept of Golden Hour is an ideal one, which cannot be achieved in any disaster / accident unless it occurs in the vicinity of the railway disaster management infrastructure / city / civil / armed forces establishments with adequate medical infrastructure. Therefore, a paradigm shift is now called for. The total approach to the concept of disaster management and the investment decisions thereof need a revamp. The strategy for setting up an effective disaster management system on the railways has to be based upon the twin plank of a stronger and appropriate infrastructure, backed by a well – trained team and
disciplined and dedicated manpower.
The committee notes that a National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is being constituted by the Government of India. This authority is expected to coordinate disaster management activities among various departments / ministries. NDMA will work under the over all supervision of Home Secretary. Ministry of
Railways has nominated Addl. Member (Mech. Engg.) as its representative in NDMA.


Why do trains sometimes slow down on some sections instead of continuing at the same speed throughout?

There are many reasons for a reduction in speed. There may be permanent speed restrictions on the section of track: because of sharp curves or curves with inadequate cant; approaches to crossovers, diamonds, etc.; structures too close to the track; ghat sections; lineside tenements or pedestrian traffic; level crossings; old bridges or culverts; inferior track or lighter rails than normally required; unstable trackbed; frequent threat of flooding, etc. The working timetable usually has a detailed list of these restrictions for all sections within a division.
There may also be temporary speed restrictions (also simply temporary restrictions) such as engineering speed restrictions because of construction work or track maintenance, or because of flooding or other track damage, etc., all of which necessitate following the appropriate caution orders or caution notices in force for the section. See below for more on this. Sometimes newly-laid track may not yet have been certified for higher speeds while lower speed traffic is allowed.


A Caution Order (or caution notice) is a written notice issued by a station master (or other official) to the driver and guard of a train, formally advising them of special conditions and restrictions in effect on the section of track that the train is  about to enter. The Caution Order may have instructions on speed restrictions and other special procedures to be followed on account of damage to the tracks, flooding, work on the permanent way or on the electrical equipment, accidents (or reminders of spots where accidents recently occurred), work on or damage to OHE equipment, or unusual situations.

A caution order can also be issued to advise the driver and guard of the presence of manually operated or motor trolleys, tower cars, MOW wagons, or other such maintenance or emergency vehicles that have entered the block section ahead. The caution order usually specifies the location of the affected section of track, the temporary speed limits in effect, the locations of caution indicators and termination
indicators, etc.

Some representative examples of caution orders are the following:

  •  Track doubling in progress - whistle to alert men at work
  •  Track destressing - 20km/h
  •  New colour-light signal location
  •  Level crossing gate - no acknowledgement given; be prepared to stop if gateman does not display hand signal
  •  Accident spot - 75km/h
  • Up distant signal number ... of station ... inoperative due to a cable break; keep a good look-out, whistle while approaching and Proceed
A caution order is generally issued by the station master of of a station adjacent to the block section which is affected. In addition, divisional caution orders are also issued by station masters of certain specified stations on the route, known as notice stations.
A caution order is specifically addressed to the driver and guard of a particular train identified on it. Separate caution orders are issued for each train passing through on to the affected section. At many of the larger stations nowadays the caution orders are printed out but at smaller stations, handwritten notes still
A nil caution order is issued by a notice station to inform the driver and guard of a train that there are no special caution instructions or temporary speed restrictions in effect between that station and the next notice station. A reminder caution order may be issued by a notice station to reiterate caution orders already issued
by other stations or authorities.


These are various kinds of speed limits below the normal sanctioned speed limit for the route section in question, imposed in stretches of track where unsafe conditions exist because of track damage, ongoing repair work to track or OHE, accidents, or unusual circumstances in the construction of the permanent way 

A temporary engineering restriction is specifically one that is imposed for a fixed duration on account of ongoing work on the permanent way or OHE equipment; a permanent engineering restriction is one that is in effect indefinitely because of characteristics of the permanent way. Other temporary speed restrictions may be imposed because of flooding, track damage, accidents, etc. A stop dead restriction is one which requires a train to come to a complete halt before obtaining permission to proceed.

For short-duration (1 day or less) temporary speed restrictions, hand signals are used at appropriate points (30m to the rear, and 800m (more in some cases) to the rear) to advise drivers of the location of the restriction. For a short-duration stop dead restrictions, a red banner flag is placed across the tracks just before the obstruction, and another banner flag is placed beside the tracks 600m (BG; 400m for MG/NG) before the location of the affected portion of track. Three detonators are also placed 10m apart, about 1200m (BG; 800m for MG/NG) before the banner. Hand signals are used 30m to the rear of the obstruction and 45m to the rear of the detonators.

For longer temporary speed restrictions (lasting more than a day) a speed indicator is placed 30m to the rear of the affected portion, and a caution indicator 800m (or more in some cases) to the rear. For longer stop-dead restrictions, the speed indicator is replaced by a stop indicator, whereas the caution indicator is placed
1200m to the rear (BG; 800m for MG/NG).
Normally the driver and guard of a train are issued caution orders that provide details of the temporary restrictions. Caution orders are not issued for permanent restrictions of any kind.

The caution or stop indicators, banner flags, hand signals, and speed indicators are all dispensed with if the affected portion of track is within station limits and if it can be appropriately isolated by the settings of points and leaving signals protecting it 'on' (at danger). The caution indicator is also dispensed with if the affected portion of track is protected by an automatic signal less than 1200m (BG; 800m MG/NG) from the obstruction. In this case the detonators and banner flags are placed at 180m and 90m to the rear of the obstruction for a stop-dead restriction