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A day in the life of
Senior section engineer, Northern Railways
Vaidya is responsible for track safety at four railway stretches in Delhi—Yamuna Bridge, Pragati Maidan, Ring Rail and Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway station. Though much of his job involves coordinating and managing the 300-odd track safety staff working under him, Vaidya has to personally oversee the rail tracks, keeping a close eye on chinks.
On a Thursday morning, with the rain a steady drizzle, Rajesh Vaidya was at his workstation: a trolley along the railway tracks at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway station in New Delhi. Vaidya is a senior section engineer with the Northern Railways, which makes him responsible for track safety at four railway stretches in Delhi—Yamuna Bridge, Pragati Maidan, Ring Rail and the main line at Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway station.
It's barely four days since the Kalka Mail accident and Vaidya is a key link in that chain of people who work tirelessly to minimise rail mishaps. Though much of his job involves coordinating and managing the 300-odd track safety staff working under him, Vaidya has to personally oversee the rail tracks, keeping a close eye on the chinks, keys, turnouts (where rail tracks cross over from one line to another) on the tracks. "We also collect reports from another department that checks tracks with ultrasonic frequency devices," he says.
Once a month, Vaidya is out on his push-trolley, manually inspecting the line. The job has its risks. A couple of months ago, while he was on a similar inspection, he turned around to see a train, inches away from his trolley. "There is always a risk while we are on such inspections, especially on the push trolleys. The foot inspections too are hazardous but that is the nature of our job. There have been several instances of gangmen (workers who physically check tracks and repair them) being run down. We have to be alert," he says.