We all know what chain pulling is, but only a few of us may have actually used it. The red colored chain hanging from the side of the ceiling in trains is installed to help travellers stop the train in case of an emergency. Since engine and guard coach are at extreme ends of the train, the chain provides passengers some level of control over the movement of the train. However, you should be aware that you cannot pull the chain as and when you want. There has to be a valid reason to pull the chain, or else, it will be considered a punishable offence.
How chain pulling works?
The braking system in trains works through pressurized air, which keeps the brake pads apart. When you pull the chain, air pressure is released and brake pads cling to the wheels to stop the train. The brake is simultaneously applied to all coaches in the train when you pull the chain.
Can loco pilot override chain pulling?
When you pull the chain, the loco pilot immediately gets a warning, indicating that air pressure is falling. The loco pilot can choose to increase air pressure and continue to drive the drain, but this option is rarely used nowadays. That’s because established protocol mandates that loco pilots should consider all chain pulling events as genuine emergencies. Override option was used during earlier times at places where there was threat from dacoits or other similar risks.
How RPF knows about the location of chain pulling?
If you have pulled the chain, don’t assume that you can get away with it. Firstly, there will be your co-passengers who will likely report your actions to the RPF. Secondly, emergency flashers are turned on automatically on the side walls of the coach where the chain was pulled. So, sooner or later, you will get caught if you have pulled the chain just for mischief.
When you should and shouldn’t pull the chain?
Chain pulling is only meant for genuine emergency situations such as:
- Someone falling from the train
- Medical emergencies
- Family member left behind at the station
- Fire in the train
- To facilitate boarding of differently-abled or older individuals
- Safety emergencies such as robbery or snatch-and-run cases
- Other valid reasons, as evaluated by railway authorities
Chain pulling without valid reason is punishable
Chain pulling is not allowed for facilitating entry of an individual who is late and is yet to onboard the train. Other common misuse of chain pulling includes de-boarding train at non-stopping station. Sometimes people also do it just for fun without knowing the consequences. All these acts are punishable under Section 141 of the Indian Railways Act. The guilty person can be fined up to Rs 1,000 and/or sent to jail for up to 1 year.
How the train starts moving again?
Once the affected coach is identified, the air release valve is reset. This brings the air pressure back to normal. Once all enquiries have been done and things taken care of by RPF and train staff, the train starts moving again.
Chain pulling is for your convenience and safety, so use it only for valid reasons. You should also understand that chain pulling can delay other trains on the route. Chain pulling is a punishable offence, so you should be careful about what you are doing.