Railway old hands, not more than 65 years of age, will be recruited to preserve the heritage stocks of the national transporter, senior officials said today. The Railway Board has approved a proposal to engage retired railway staff at Rs 1,200 per day, to preserve, restore and revive railway heritage items such as steam locomotives, vintage coaches, steam cranes, semaphore signals, station equipment and steam-powered equipment.
"They have the experience to repair and maintain railway heritage and can also act as coaches for the younger generation. It is not an easy task to keep, say a clock - which is 150 years old - ticking even after all these years. The old hands have that expertise," a senior railway official said. After years of neglect, the Indian Railways has shifted its focus on preserving its heritage. In a recent meeting with zonal heads, it was decided that proper preservation and display of such heritage items needed to be ensured.
The board also plans to open a logbook of all major events related to the Indian Railways, both at zonal railways as well as at the National Rail Museum. The move to engage old hands is a way to ensure that the expertise of maintaining heritage rolling stock and old equipment are passed on and that the existing treasure trove of railways symbolizing 160 years of its existence doesn't get lost.
The board has empowered the principal head of departments to hire a maximum 10 retired personnel who have adequate skills for consulting and guiding the process of revival and preservation, according to a railway board letter to the zonal railways issued yesterday. They will be placed at railway museums and workshops wherever the maintenance of heritage stocks are required, the officials said.
The engagement will be on a contractual basis with a maximum tenure of six months and should be considered depending on their medical condition and level of skill, the letter said. The board has said the remuneration of retired staff shall not exceed last drawn pay when added to a pension. No other remuneration like over-time, travel or daily allowance will be provided.