The Railways's unsung heroes keeping things on track
While the Railways has come to a complete standstill, mid-day tracks four of many staffers who are making the extra effort while we stay home
From walking 8 km to work to taking lorries and tempos, mid-day has tracked four railway employees who are reporting to work against all odds.
Owing to the lockdown, Central Railway (CR) is running only freight and parcel trains for essential goods, etc. But the maintenance, security and other aspects of railway works are being done on a daily basis.
The Indore unit with the masks it made
One such is 55-year-old Abdul Rashid, who works as a senior section engineer (traction distribution). His journey to work starts with walking from Mumbra to Diva and then from Diva to his section between Nilaje and Juchandra by maintenance lorry where he carries out pre-monsoon activities of traction sectioning post. "Keeping the work on is important or it could be problematic once the trains start," Rashid said.
Shankar Khade, helper with the Lonavala overhead equipment department in the mountainous region reports to work by trekking around 5 km from his village Kusgaon to Lonavala. At the age of 58, he has set an example to youngsters. "Lonavala section is very important for all trains and this is the crucial link and any slip in the overhead wire would mean putting the system out of action," he says.
Kadar Khan, junior engineer (signal) at Mazgaon lives in the city and has to walk about 2 km daily to the nearest station as he does not have a vehicle. "He has done substantial improvements in the maintenance of the section and completed working on track circuits in the yard, checking and maintenance of points and the mandatory insulation test for all cables as a pre-monsoon requirement of the signalling and telecommunication department," a senior official said.
Babloo Kumar, mechanical fitter working under senior section engineer – bogie section, a resident of Chinchpada village in Kalyan walks 8 km daily to reach his workplace. His job is to keep electric locomotives in a fit state and so far he has attended brake gears of two locomotives and replaced the condemned brake blocks.
"These four are just examples of the numerous behind-the-scenes heroes keeping CR running," CR's chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said.
Hailing Western Railway employees for their commitment during the lockdown, WR CPRO Ravinder Bhakar said, "WR's staff across divisions has taken charge of making homemade masks to cater to the large requirement. Employees of Lower Parel workshop have produced more than 20,000 masks while staff of Mechanical department and Kankaria coaching depot, Ahmedabad has provided more than 1,500 homemade masks. Till April 20, WR has in-house produced 1,20,325 masks and 10,359 litres of sanitiser."
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