In this article i present to you the experience of working in Indian Railways of an IES officer from electrical engineering. We met at foundation course about which i have already detailed here. At NAIR, i requested him to write an article for IES aspirants from electrical engineering, which would give them insights of life in Indian Railways.This article has been written by Deep Karan Singh. He has detailed about his journey so far , after joining railways on 15th December 2014. He has tried to portray a balance picture of working in his department. I hope this article helps you in giving inside look of the system where you dream to be.
My initial experience of working in Indian Railways
It was 28th of February of 2014. The final result of the Engineering Services Exam-2013 was out and I had secured AIR-22. Having a look at the number of vacancies in IRSEE, I was sure to get Railways if my medical goes well. The medical schedule was out by the end of March. Till that year, Medical exam was conducted by Railways at its hospitals. I was called to Mumbai in April for the medical exam even though it was not among the three choices I had given. The medical result was out by October and the offer of appointment was issued on 31st of October. I received it two days later with a First Class Duty Pass mentioning Nasik as the place of reporting. The Chuk-Chuk Gaadi was calling me and asking me to help it serve the public. The joining was on 15th of December and ten days prior to it, I received a welcome letter from the CTI (Centralized Training Institute) at which I had to report i.e. Indian Railways Institute of Electrical Engineering, Nasik (IRIEEN).
I reached Nasik on 14th of December. The CTI bus was on duty to receive the about-to-join Probationary Officers (POs) from the station and take them to the institute. The CTI is at a distance of 4 kms from the station and is situated on the outskirts of the main city. It is spread over a vast area equipped with all facilities except the Khajana i.e. ATM (Any Time Money). There is the main building, the two hostels for the POs and senior officers, the ORH (Officer Rest House), the health unit and almost all the sporting facilities. I heard that Railways gives huge importance to sports and had observed it first hand. The culture of sports is imbibed in Railway Officers from the start. The institute has a very big ground, swimming pool, gymnasium, badminton court, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, etc. It also has a recreation room where indoor sports like snooker, carrom, table tennis are available and a reading room. There is a big library in the main building where all the books related to Electrical Department of Indian Railways and also other books of general nature are available. The hostel area also has a mess to cater to the diverse tastes of the Officers who had come from all over the country.
After a week of the joining, which was for the joining formalities, the first part of our training i.e. Phase-1 was started. It was a eight-week classroom program in which the POs were exposed to various facets of Electrical Department of Indian Railways. The classes at IRIEEN were conducted from Monday to Friday. A total of seven tests were conducted to evaluate the POs in the latter half of the program. The tests were not of serious nature and all the officers pass them easily but these should not be taken for granted. The POs also went for practical training to Mumbai during the course but the real field training was yet to come.
Parties, functions and get-togethers are a regular affair in the Indian Railways. We were lucky to witness the 25th anniversary of service of 1987 batch of IRSEE in Indian Railways. Senior officers interacted and shared their experience with the new POs. All of them told very nice things and future prospects in Indian Railways and we were delighted to hear such unprecedented experiences. A cultural program was conducted during our stay in which all the POs performed and brought out their hidden talents. On the occasion of Republic Day, the Director of IRIEEN unfurled the Tiranga and the National Anthem was sung. Refreshment was also distributed to all the officers.
After the conclusion of Phase-1 on 13th of February, all the POs were sent for field training for 8 days to different places in groups of 4-5 and were told to report on 26th of February for Group ‘A’ Foundation Course at National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) in Vadodara.
First Field Training
There was 8 working days gap between the completion of Phase-1 at IRIEEN and the start of the Foundation Course at NAIR. All the POs were allotted field training for this period to different places. I, along with three more POs, went to Bilaspur. We were given an assignment which also included foot plating. We went to Korba from Bilaspur, travelled in the locomotive of a goods train and learned new things from the inspector who was travelling with us to facilitate out training. Different types of signals, warning boards were coming enroute our journey and the inspector was clearing all our doubts. It was an unprecedented experience and we learned a lot of new things. At Korba, we went to coal mines of Coal India Ltd and observed the things which were relevant to us. It was a life changing experience and I knew more better experiences are yet to come.
NAIR is the alma mater of all Railway Officers and POs from various services of the Railways reported to attend the ten-week program. The POs were from IRSEE,IRSE,IRSSE,IRSME,IRAS,IRPS. The probationers from different services were made room partners for better inter-departmental interaction. Morning PT was conducted at the academy to inculcate the virtues of being fit. The other side of the PT was the penalty of losing a CL for missing four PTs. Here also the EXAM monster was not ready to leave few of the POs (including me) who did not want to study. A total of 13 exams were conducted during the course covering all the departments of Indian Railways like Commercial, Law, Operations, Stores, Electrical, Civil, etc. The exams were finished a week before the completion of the course which was to bring down the curtains on 1st of May.
A one-week study tour was also organized during the Foundation Program and I was one of the lucky ones to go to Chandigarh, Shimla and Amritsar. The toy train journey from Kalka to Shimla was thoroughly enjoyed by all the POs and the visit to Attari-Wagah border filled the Railway Officers with national pride.
After NAIR, all IRSEE probationers will be going for field training in groups of 5 to 6. The Railways are spread all over the country with its presence increasing in the North East and giving an ample amount of opportunity for the newly recruited Officers to visit new places and learn the nuances of Railway working. The POs will also be visiting the Production Units of Railways like RCF, ICF, CLW, DLW, etc. All the POs are scheduled to meet at various CTIs for appreciation courses and training review at Nasik.
The Phase-2 will be conducted at Nasik at the end of the one and half year of training, followed by the posting exam and passing out parade.
There have been talks going around in the Railway corridors that the POs will be sent for training abroad, probably to Japan and Australia, but nothing has been finalized yet.
This is my four and half months of experience in Indian Railways and I hope that some nice things are in store for me.
Deep Karan Singh,
With vital inputs from Shailendra Maurya