In this article we will look at the work profile of Electronics Engineer in Indian Railways. As a part of ongoing series, this is the second installment of work profiles of engineers recruited through IES in Indian Railways.
There is Signaling and telecommunication department in Indian Railways where you will be posted as ASTE after your joining. S&T and department plays vital role in safe running of trains in Indian Railways. There was a time when police men on horses used to give signal for the running of trains. Now we have moved a great deal ahead in terms of providing a reliable and safe method of working for the movements of trains. Have you ever wondered while looking at the signal adjacent to railway line? If you have then it would be even more interesting to actually understand the working of signals. To an outsider, railways signals present quite a challenge to decipher but after joining Railways you will be talking in terms of outer, home, starter and advanced starter.
Let’s Look at organization of this department before proceeding ahead.
Open Line:-Your first posting will be as an Assistant Divisional Signal and Telecom Engineer. Typically a fresh recruit is placed here, to give him the first-hand knowledge of working of Indian Railways. Your responsibilities will be numerous; the primary one will be to ensure proper working of signal in your sub-division. Basically, in 150-200km stretch even if one signal fail, you will be held responsible. After signals there are lot of other devices and equipment’s such as axle counters, point machines, track circuits, block instruments, RRI, PRI etc. If any of this malfunction, the movements of train will come to standstill. This will be also your responsibility to maintain or get it replaced on time. In Railways you will find those technologies which are difficult to find elsewhere. Telecommunications system of IR is one of the most vital assets, I can’t describe them here in detail but they can broadly be classified as administrative and operational. Administrative system consists of Communication amongst Area Control Office, Divisional Offices, Zonal Offices, Railway Board office etc. Operational system consist of Control Communication Hot lines for train operation ,Magneto phone communication for L/C ,Block phone commn,Pagers for train crew etc. In addition, the telecommunications play a vital role in the areas of passenger amenities and disaster management. There is more in terms of technology than you can think of, if you are interested in it.
You will have sub-ordinates working under your jurisdiction but you will be executive head in Sub-division. As you move in ladder, natures of responsibilities shift along with jurisdictional area.
Construction:- It is the construction wing of IR responsible for creation of new assets. After projects are sanctioned, you will be the executive head from Railways. You will have to check and inspect work done by contractors, issue them guidelines, punish them etc. In this department you technical skills are put to test, how much skill you have being an IES. You will have to propose solutions to any problem arising out of technical difficulties.
RDSO:- This is the research wing of Railways. If you have the aptitude for research you can take posting here for your work. If you really can contribute through your research then RDSO will provide you the opportunity to do so. One of the examples can be Anti Collision Device developed by Konkan Railways. Actually, there is lot of research you can do for IR. Can you develop a new signaling system which can improve the line capacity without compromising on safety and speed? The challenge is upto you to take. Development of high speed trains needs a very reliable and safe signaling system. There are lots of other area where technologies can be integrated for which electronics engineer are necessary.
Deputation: – There are various Psu working under ministry of railways, you can go to one of these if you so wish. Also, you can go to Railway Board, New Delhi to work on different policy matters for whole of Railways. You will also be able to visit foreign countries for training in technical matters but not so early in the career. After five years, you can take leave for higher studies from foreign universities.
Words of advice-You must keep in mind that after all you will be working in a Government Organization. It will not be free from malaise of a typical ‘sarkari naukari’. You can’t expect the work environment like Google or Microsoft because of obvious reasons. If Railways become more professional over the years, it will be the one of best place for engineers even edging top MNC’s. IES is the place for those who are interested in engineering and technology and I have always stressed that interest in technical matters is key requisite for successful career in IES. So, I wish you all the luck for your future ahead.
Words of Caution– Although I work in railways, i have written this article from my own experience of this department, as an outsider. I may have missed something or made error while describing work profile. I would welcome further suggestion for improvement in this article.