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BR re-inducts advanced loco pilot system

Shahin Akhter

Reminiscent of Ershad days, Bangladesh Railway has, for the second time in its history, inducted the advance loco pilot system to ensure safety of trains against possible attacks, said officials.
Under the system an advance pilot locomotive is sent to check the rail tracks, sleepers and other security facilities before an important train leaves the station, they said.
Usually, this system is used during warlike or crisis situations, said officials.
The ongoing blockade prompted the authorities to take the decision to send pilot locomotives before important trains leave the stations, said officials.
The system has been put in place at importation railway stations like Dhaka, Chittagong, Paksey and Lalmonirhat, they said.
A railway officer in Chittagong told New Age Saturday that earlier only   military autocrat Ershad had used advanced loco pilots during the long movement seeking his ouster.
Since October 25, said
officials, at least 242 incidents of sabotage took place against railway facilities.
They said that locomotives, coaches, stations and tracks came under increasing attacks in recent times.
Now, he said, two pilot locomotives stationed at Chittagong station, leave it before important trains set out on journeys and escort them up to Feni, a distance of 90 km.
Two more pilot locomotives, stationed at Laksham do the same exercise from Lamsam to Akhaura, a distance of 71 km. 
‘Due to shortage of locomotives, we are using locomotives of cancelled trains,’ he said.
But with a pilot locomotive running ahead has slowed down train movement, said Kamalapur Railway Station master Nripendra Nath Saha.
BR general manager (west), Ferdous Alam said that due to shortage of locomotives, trolleys and shuttle trains were also being used to ensure security of Dhaka-bound express trains and some of the long distance trains.
The railways minister, Mohammad Mazibul Hoque, on Sunday admitted that the security measure was taken to tackle the crisis facing the railway.  




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