Indian Railways are the lifeline of our economy. The trains not only carry passengers but freight as well. Reaching to all possible corners of our country, this is the largest rail network in the work and the biggest employer as well. It is hard to find an Indian who hasn’t traveled in train. And while we have all stood for hours waiting to board our trains, we have seen several of them cross the stations.
Some of the freight train wagons have “Not to be loose shunted” written on them. Have you ever wondered what it means?
In India, liquids and gases along with livestock are transported via train wagons. Generally, these terms are written on wagons which are carrying dangerous goods, shift-able loads likes loose pipes, vehicles, livestock etc., oil, petrol, diesel and other inflammable items.
During the unloading of the freight wagons at their respective destinations like a thermal power plant, cement factory etc., a shunting locomotive is used. This locomotive just pushes the wagon imparting enough speed to reach the platform on its own.
Once it reaches the designated unloading platform, it is halted by a full rake. This shunting can be imparted anytime and anywhere. Also, the shunting locomotive unstocks every wagon individually.
The wagons carrying inflammable items are marked with this statement to avoid leakage and other possible accidents like fire. Wagons carrying mail, heavy equipment, cement bags, concrete slabs, grain etc. are shunted regularly. Once they reach the desired siding, officials break the seal of the wagon and unloading begins.