Railway Driver is the most important person in executing the huge task of transporting nearly seventeen million passengers and more than two million ton of fright daily with the help of 2,25,000 wagons, 45,000 coaches and more than 8300 locomotive engines of various kinds.
To transport seventeen million passengers and millions of tons of fright and that too with taking care of both the traveler’s convenience and safety is not a mean task. To carry out this huge task Railway Ministry has employees of various categories for all kinds of tasks like clerical staff, supervisors, inspectors, Drivers, Guards and policy makers etc.
But the ultimate executer of the task is the one who gives the finishing touch to this work and that is the driver of the train. No doubt every single person is equally important for the safe journey of a train but in the end it is the driver on whose sincerity the journey of a train depends. If he is not capable of carrying his responsibility then the efforts of the other employees go waste, in this sense we can say that he is the most important person of the railways as the fighter pilot in an Air force battle is.
Thus Engine Driver is one of the most important posts in the railway staff. He is the person (along with the Guard) in charge of the train. Although he has to rely on the guard for assuring himself that the station master (directly or indirectly) has authorized the departure of the train from the station and guard can also require the driver to stop the train, or to operate it under his direction yet driver is also responsible to carry the train safely to its destination. For instance, in some cases if the train parts, or breaks down, or if a signal is defective the driver must consult the guard on how to proceed but ultimately it is the driver whose presence of mind, calmness, responsibility towards his work and above all his co-ordination with the guard is necessary to do the job in tough conditions.
We can say that he is the person who shoulders the responsibility along with the Guard of taking the train from one destination to other safely. In that sense he is one of the most important employees in the setup. One has to be really dedicated and hardworking to handle this work. The job of a Driver demands hard work and great presence of mind along with courage to handle adverse conditions. For this one should have discipline, patience, responsibility, punctuality, commitment, courage and above all self-confidence. The job requires lots of hard work, stamina, alertness of mind, adaptability to follow difficult time schedules too.
To discharge his duties efficiently and effectively he requires special training and knowledge.
1. Educational Qualification
To be eligible to become an Engine Driver in India one should be at least Matriculate plus ITI course in specified trades
Minimum age of the aspiring candidate should be 18 years and maximum age limit is 30 years.
How to become a Railway Engine Driver?
To become an Engine Driver one has to follow the below given steps:
To become an Engine Driver in Indian Railways one has to apply for the competitive exam to be held for the job whenever declared by any of the 17 RRBs of different zones in the Indian Railways.
After clearing the RRB exam (consisting of nearly 150 questions on G.K, Aptitude, Mathematics and General English) held for the post of Railway Driver and getting the necessary training one usually begins his career as a diesel or electric loco assistant driver, where his job is mainly to check the state of the locomotive, help with all the auxiliary equipment as needed, and to call out the aspects of the signals (which are confirmed by the driver). An assistant driver works as an assistant on goods trains, then on passenger trains, and finally on express trains.
The pay scale of a newly appointed Railway Driver starts from approx. Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000. However these payscale keep on revising from time to time.
They also get attractive remuneration and incentives including contributory provident fund, gratuity, medical facilities and free/concessional Railways passage etc. They are also provided with a range of benefits and allowances in addition to housing facilities, medical expenses and out-station allowances, as well as free/concessional Railways passes for their immediate family members and dependants.
A driver usually begins his career as a diesel or electric loco assistant driver, where his job is mainly to check the state of the locomotive, help with all the auxiliary equipment as needed, and to call out the aspects of the signals.
An assistant driver works as an assistant on goods trains, then on passenger trains, and finally on express trains, before becoming a shunter or a goods driver. After that he can progress as a driver on passenger trains and finally on express trains. It takes at least 8 or 10 years, usually more, before an assistant driver works up the ranks to become the driver for a Rajdhani or Shatabdi train.
The various grades for drivers include: Driver, Passenger Driver, Senior Passenger Driver, Goods Driver, Senior Goods Driver, Shunter, Senior Shunter, Fireman, Senior Fireman, Diesel Assistant, Senior Diesel Assistant, Electric Assistant, Senior Electric Assistant, Second Fireman, Senior Second Fireman.