Indian Railways is providing train drivers with air-conditioned cabins and other staff members with yoga lessons in a bid to reduce accident rates and improve efficiency, according to officials in an Agence France Presse (AFP) report.
The railway, which experienced a number of accidents in recent months, took steps to improve the rail employees’ working conditions. Currently, drivers sit in uncomfortable wooden seats in temperatures as high as 132 degrees Fahrenheit.
By air conditioning the cabin, rail authorities believe drivers will be more alert and less likely to fall asleep, said the news service.
In addition to adding air conditioning, drivers will benefit from cushioned seats and walkie-talkies to communicate with stations.
To improve the efficiency of other rail staff, yoga training will be given every morning, beginning with ticket checkers and followed by booking clerks, station masters and cabin staff at a later date, said the AFP.
The aim of the yoga lessons is to keep the staff physically fit and mentally alert, said A.K. Singh, senior commercial manager of the Danapur rail division.
The railway, which transports 13 million passengers through 7,000 stations every day, dealt with its latest accident in July. Twenty-one people were killed when a Golconda Express train plunged off a bridge onto a busy street in Warangal town, Andhra Pradesh state.
India’s rail system, one of the world’s largest, with a workforce of 1.6 million, is saddled with infrastructure that dates back to the British colonial era before 1947.