A group of rail-fans based in Chennai has contributed to the list of ideas that were sought from employees a few months ago, which would culminate in the Vikas Shivir or brainstorming sessions in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be held on November 25-27.

The varied group of rail enthusiasts suggested IR should use a mix of economic viability in certain areas and social service in others and provide services accordingly.

Connecting all ports on priority, ensuring no unreserved passengers in reserved classes, using one TTE per coach, bio toilets, audit of goods lost due to pilferage/ faulty wagons, besides electronic activation of brakes from a remote location or by a device on track in case the train inadvertently passes a red signal, were some of the suggestions given.

Installation of RFID trackers on locomotives and other rolling stock, especially wagons, for real-time monitoring besides categorisation of locos and categorisation of loads with correct locos, was mooted so as to avoid overpower/ under power.

Creation of a hub-and-spoke model with local transport providers to transport the goods to the nearest railhead from the client’s factory, running rakes to customers’ timelines rather than forcing them to send the goods whenever a rake is available, were also proposed.

Elimination of preferential treatment to own zone trains while instilling the mentality of viewing all trains as the property of IR was proposed.

The group observed that IR staff currently worked as a team only within their departments with departmental conflict being rampant, with each one bickering on where to book punctuality loss, revenue loss, etc. For example, punctuality loss should not be assigned to signal & telecom or train lighting but the entire station staff should be held responsible. Eliminating intra-department travel as much as possible with digital aids such as video conferencing and video chats was also mooted.

On food, rail-fans wanted IR to exit catering and rope in reputed restaurants / catering joints, prioritise quality over cost while introducing a regional flavour.

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