1201. Rules for Working - The rules for the working of material trains are outlined in :

(1) Appendix IX of the Indian Railway Code for the Engineering Department, and Paras 4.62 to 4.65 of General Rules for Indian Railways (1976) and Subsidiary Rules thereto -

When the quantity of material is such as could be conveniently trained out in stages, wagon-loads may be attached to goods trains by arrangement with the Operating Department.

1202. Material Train - Material Train means a departmental train intended solely or mainly for carriage of railway material when picked or put down for execution of works, either between stations or within station limits. The railway material may include stone boulders, ballast, sand, cinder, moorum, rails, sleepers and fittings etc.

1203.Economical Working - Material train should be expeditiously and economically worked. The Assistant Engineer should arrange to form a train of maximum capacity consistent with the haulage capacity of the engine and tonnage approved for the section. In consultation with the Operating Department, the running of goods trains should be suitably regulated so as to provide as long a working time for material train as possible. Delays in working should be traced to their source and remedies applied as circumstances demand.

1204. Restrictions in Running - (1) Except with the permission of the Assistant Engineer or Divisional Engineer, a Material Train should not be permitted to work during periods of poor visibility due to fog, storm or any other cause.

(2) Except in an emergency such as, an accident or breach of the railway line, working of material trains carrying labour should not be permitted between sunset and sunrise. If due to certain circumstances it is necessary to work Material Trains during night, permission to do so should be obtained from the Divisional Operating Superintendent.

1205. Brake-vans and Shelter wagons -

(1) A Material train must be equipped with at least one brake- van in the rear. When running through between stations the engine should be marshalled at one end of the train, and the brake-van at the other end.

(2) Vehicles with vacuum brakes should be attached next to the engine when practicable and vacuum brake connected up with the engine.

(3) Covered wagons to afford shelter to the labour may be coupled to the material train as required.

1206. Ordering of Material Trains -Authority Ordering - Operating Department is the authority for ordering a material train. On receipt of requisition from the Assistant Engineer/Divisional Engineer, the Divisional Operating Superintendent shall advise the staff concerned by letter, detailing the composition of train, the loading kilometrages, the sections over which the train will work, the date of commencement of work, the station at which the rake will be stabled and the engineering official who will be deputed to be in-charge of the train. The notice to be given by the Engineering department should not normally be less than a week.

1207. Issue of "Fit-to- Run" Certificate -Before a material train is allowed to work, the complete rake should be examined by the carriage and wagon staff and a "fit-to-run" certificate issued to the Guard. The rake may also be examined by the carriage and wagon staff each time it arrives at the train examining station and whenever possible, once a week.

1208. Official -in -charge of Material Train -Whenever a material train is worked it shall be accompanied by a Guard. As the Guard is not qualified to carry out such duties as working of hoppers, distribution of ballast/materials, supervising loading and unloading, maintaining muster rolls and daily reports of labour and preparation of daily reports on material train working, a qualified engineering official should be deputed on the train to ensure working of material train to the programme specified by Assistant Engineer.

1209. Equipment - Every material train Guard must have with him while on duty:

(a) A copy of General and Subsidiary Rules or such of them as relate to his duties.

(b) An up-to-date copy of Working Time Table with correction slips and appendices, relating to the section of the Railway over which the material train is to be worked.

(c) A watch.

(d) Hand signal lamps.

(e) Two red flags and a green flag .

(f) A whistle.

(g) Not less than 12 detonators in a tin case,

(h) A carriage key.

(i) Padlocks as prescribed by special instructions.

(j) A set of clamp for point locking and/or other locking devices.

(k) A spare pair of glasses if he is required to wear glasses.

(l) First aid box.

(m) Sprags and chains, 

(n) A tail lamp/L.V. Board.

(o) Portable telephone ( on controlled sections), and any other equipment and stores prescribed by special instructions.

1210. Testing of Brake Power - (1) Before starting from a station, the Guard should ensure that the train is equipped with requisite brake power prescribed for the load.

(2) Each vehicle of material train whether or not provided with vacuum brake, must be provided with an efficient hand brake capable of being fastened down.

1211. Working in Block section - (1)A material train shall be worked with the permission of the Station Master on either side and in accordance with the provisions and system of working in force on the section. Before a Material Train enters a block section for work, the Station Master should advise the Driver and the Guard in writing of the time by which the train must clear the block and whether it is to proceed to the block station in advance or return to the same station.

(2) On double line, a material train must not push back to the Station in rear but should run through to the station in advance and return on proper running line except when otherwise directed.

Where provided, lever collars or other visual indicators must be used to remind Station Master that the material train is working in the block section.

(3) The Guard/Engineering official-in charge shall ensure efficient and proper working and adhere to sanctioned time and occupation of block section. Materials should not be left fouling the track, signal wires and interlocking gears. If it is necessary for the train to leave the site of work before this is done, it should be ensured that sufficient labour is left to do so, in-charge of a competent railway servant and that the site is protected until the work is completed.

(4) When a material train enters a block section to work under instructions of other than under the normal system of working, the Guard and the Driver of the train shall ensure that the train is protected from the direction a train is approaching on double line and in both directions on a single line in accordance with General Rules.

If for any reason, it becomes necessary to detach the engine of a material train in the block section to run to the station in advance, the Guard should ensure that the train is protected both in front and rear.

(5) On stopping a material train on a grade the Driver should give a long blast of the whistle to call the attention of the Guard and thereafter three sharp blasts, the signal for application of hand brakes. The brakes must not be released until the Driver has signalled for this by giving two sharp blasts.

Before entering a section on which a ballast train is required to stand on a grade of 1 in 50 or steeper, the engine should be so attached that when the train is standing the engine is at the down-hill end of the train.

(6) A material train should not be divided outside station limits except in an emergency. Before the train is divided the Guard should put the hand brake in the brake-van hard on, and pin down the hand brakes of sufficient number of vehicles and if necessary, lock by means of safety chains or sprags a sufficient number of wheels, in each portion of the train. He should further ensure that the workers/ labour are detrained before dividing the train.. Vehicles should not be detached from a material train on a grade of 1 in 100 and steeper. The engine itself may be detached with the Guard's permission after he has ensured that hand brakes on each vehicle are properly applied and the wheels spragged against any movement.

1212. Pushing of Material Trains - On down gradient steeper than 1 in 100, pushing is not permitted. On gradient easier than 1 in 100 ascending or descending pushing may be permitted at a speed not exceeding 25 Km./h. provided the brake-van occupied by Guard is the leading vehicle. The speed will be restricted to 10 Km./h., if the brake van is not leading.

1213. Procedure to be followed while pushing back - When it is necessary for a material train to push back into the station from which it started to work in the block section, the following procedure should be observed :-

(1) No train must be allowed to push back without a written authority from the Station Master of the station from which it entered the section. Where line clear tickets are in use, the Station Master shall endorse the line clear ticket as follows" to push back to this station".

(2) The Station Master of a station where the train starts from and pushes back to, must advise the station in advance on the telephone or telegraph instrument and also the Controller on controlled sections that the train will push back to the station. He will then obtain the acceptance of the "is line clear for a train stopping in the section" signal on the block instruments or on the Morse instrument, where block instruments are not provided from the station in advance and then give the "train entering section" signal in the usual way.

(3) On the return of the train, the Guard will intimate that the whole of the train has returned to the station complete, from the section and sign in the trains register book to the effect and return the "authority to push back" to the Station Master which must be cancelled by the latter. The Station Master will then give "cancel last signal" signal on the block or on the Morse instrument, as the case may be, and endorse the remarks that" train pushed back" in the trains register book or the line clear enquiry book against the entry of the train.

(4) When it has been arranged for a train to push back from the section, it must always do so and not go through to the station in advance.

(5) Before starting, a green flag must be tied to a convenient fixture in front (or on the tender if running tender- foremost) of the engine and also at the back of the rear brake-van to indicate to men working on the line that the train will push back.

(6) On the double line, when the train is required to be pushed back into a station, the train must come to a stand outside the advance starting signal and the Driver shall whistle, when, if a line is clear for its reception, it must be piloted into the station. If there is no advance starting signal, the train must be brought to a stand opposite the outer signal pertaining to the opposite direction and then be piloted into the station.

(7) On the single line, when a train is required to be pushed back into an interlocked station, it must come to a stand outside the outer signal and whistle, when, if a line is clear the home and the outer signals may be taken "off" for its reception. At a non-interlocked station, the train must also come to a stand outside the outer signal whence it must be piloted into the station on signals being lowered.

(8) Except in an emergency, material trains may push back during day-light only. If in case of an accident or for any other unavoidable reason, a train has to push back during the night, it must do so at a walking pace and the Guard or a competent railway servant must walk at least 600 metres on B.G. and 400 metres on M.G. and N. G. in advance, exhibiting a danger signal until the train comes to a stand as detailed in sub-paras 6 & 7.

1214. Running on Ghat Section and Descending Grade - (1) On Ghat sections, it may be necessary to attach an engine to bank the load in addition to the engine in front.

(2) When a material train is descending a long and continuous steep grade, the brake levers of as many wagons as may be necessary to assist in controlling the speed, should be notched down by the Guard under arrangements with the Driver.

1215. Passage over Points - The Driver of a material train should stop the train short of all catch, loop or spring points which are facing for his train and which are not protected by signals. The Guard should ensure that these are correctly set and locked and then hand signal the Driver past the points.

1216. Speed of Material Trains - (1) When running between block stations with the engine leading, the speed of material train shall not exceed that prescribed for a goods train with a similar load.

(2) When the engine is pushing the train and when as in the case of emergencies the brake-van is not leading -

(a) The speed must not exceed 10 km. p.h.

(b) The Guard must travel on the leading vehicle and exhibit hand signals to the Driver.

(c) When passing over points, the Guard should take action as in Para 1215 above.

1217. Stabling of a material train - (1)  Material train shall not be stabled on running lines at a station, except in unavoidable circumstances.

(2) When a material train is stabled at a station it shall be protected in the following manner and Station Master shall ensure that -

(a) The vehicles of the material train have been properly secured and are not fouling any points and crossings,

(b) All necessary points have been set against the line on which the material train is stabled and such points have been secured with clamps or bolts and cotters and padlocks, and

(c) The keys of such padlocks are kept in his personal custody until the material train is ready to leave the siding or line.

(3) The Guard shall not relinquish charge until he has satisfied himself that the material train has been protected as prescribed in this rule.

(4) When the train is ready to leave, the Guard must advise the Station Master in writing. The Station Master must then arrange for correct setting of the points.

(5) When a material train is stabled in an outlying siding, the Guard must ensure that it is inside the trap, clear of fouling marks and clear of running line. He must pin down sufficient number of brakes and if necessary, lock by means of safety chains or sprag the wheels.

1218. Reporting Deficiencies and Damages- The Guard of the material train should at once bring to the notice of the Train Examiner under advice to the Assistant Engineer, any deficiency or damage which may have escaped the attention of the train examining staff. The Guard will also keep a record of all damages caused to the vehicles during the work and report to the Assistant Engineer the circumstances in which they occurred. In every case, the Assistant Engineer on receipt of such reports should arrange for the train-examining staff to attend to the damages and deficiencies expeditiously.

1219. Warning to workers on Material Trains -(1) The Guard of a material train shall before giving the signal to start, see that all the workers are on the train, and warn them to sit down.

(2) Before moving his trains, the Driver must sound the whistle, according to the prescribed code, as a warning to the labourers that the train is about to move.

(3) Before commencing any shunting with his train, the Guard must ensure personally that all labourers have been detrained.

(4) In the event of it being necessary to part a material train, the Guard must ensure personally that all labourers have been detrained before doing so.

1220. Engine Crew's Hours of Duty - Drivers, Assistant Drivers and Fireman employed on material train should be relieved according to their duty rosters. Only in exceptional and emergent cases such as breaches on the line, may the engine crew be kept on duty, for long hours, in which case, a special certificate should be given to the Engine Crew by the Engineering Official-in-charge.


1221. Loading at Ballast Depots - The staff at the ballast depots are responsible to ensure that the wagons are loaded to the correct level.

1222. Working Trip - (1) The train Guard or Engineering official-in-charge shall be responsible for working the train to the instructions issued by the Assistant Engineer. The Permanent Way Inspector shall arrange for the inspection and clearing of track behind the train.

(2) A " Working Trip " is a trip when one or more wagons are to be unloaded between two stations. A "Running Trip" is a trip from one station to the other when no wagons have to be unloaded on the way. Before departing on a 'Working Trip' the Permanent Way Inspector shall supply the Material Train Guard/Official-in-charge with a memo furnishing the kilometrage at which the wagons shall be unloaded and the quantity to be unloaded.

1223. Operation of Hoppers - The hopper valves shall be operated according to the prescribed instructions under the direct supervision of the train guard or official-in-charge. As far as possible one hopper may be unloaded at a time moving at walking speed. The official-in-charge should walk on the side and instruct the labour as to when to open or close the hopper valves. The train should not be stopped, while ballast is being discharged ; labour should not be moved from the platform without first stopping the train.

1224. Training out material and daily reports of working - (1) Training out of material and ballast should be done to a programme sanctioned by the Divisional or Assistant Engineer.

(2) The Guard/Engineering official-in-charge should adhere to the sanctioned programme and submit daily report on prescribed form Annexure 12/1 (Material Train Journal) to the Assistant Engineer through the concerned Inspector. Where the contract for the working of the material train provides for the employment of a minimum number of  labourers and the contractor is paid for the actual labour so supplied for loading and unloading of ballast, permanent way or other materials the daily report should show the correct number of labourers of each class employed and the nature and approximate quantity of work done. Muster rolls should be maintained by the Guard or Engineering Official-in-charge and checked and initialed frequently by the Inspector concerned when the training out is done by departmental labour.

(3) In cases where the material is not loaded in bulk e.g., rail girders and bricks, the actual weight and number loaded should be given in the daily report.

(4) Sufficient number of copies of daily reports should be prepared by the Guard/Engineering Official-in-charge and submitted to the concerned officers e.g., Engineering, Operating, Mechanical etc.

(5) The number of wagons on the train with their capacity and painted numbers should be indicated on the form of daily report. Particulars of detention to the train other than for Engineering work should also be indicated.

(6) Before forwarding the daily reports of material train working to the Assistant Engineer, the Inspector may add relevant remarks as considered necessary. The Assistant Engineer should scrutinise the daily reports and take such action as considered necessary to avoid or minimise detentions in the working of the material train, before forwarding the same to the Divisional Engineer for allocation, initials and record.

1225. Charges for Material Train Working- For purposes of debiting the charges on account of Material train working to the heads of revenue working expenses concerned a monthly or fortnightly "Material Train Return" on the form given in Para 1466-E will be prepared by Operating Department and sent to the Divisional Engineer for completion and submission to the Accounts Department, for necessary action. On this return, the hire charges for wagons and engine will be separately shown.

1226. Register of Engineering Vehicles - (1) When Engineering wagons are not in use, these should be stabled in the siding allotted for this purpose in specific station yards.

(2) The Divisional Engineer and Assistant Engineer should maintain subdivision-wise a complete inventory in the form of a register of all closed wagons, open wagons, hoppers, etc., on the division. The register should contain :

Vehicle numbers; 

Type of vehicle;


Condition of vehicle;

Locations and particulars of periodical overhaul,

when carried out and due.

The register should be kept current to facilitate issue of instructions when ordering a material train.

(3) A monthly return of engineering vehicles on the sub-division should be submitted by the Assistant Engineer to the Divisional Engineer with complete particulars of each vehicle for record in his office. It should be the Assistant Engineer's responsibility to keep track of all Engineering vehicles allotted to his sub-division and see that those that are sent to workshops for periodical overhaul are returned expeditiously.

1227. Working of Track Maintenance Machines - (1) All 'on track' machines shall be worked only under traffic block with the permission of the concerned Station Masters and in accordance with the special instructions issued in this regard.

(2) (a) Each machine shall be in direct charge of a nominated track machine operator. The operator shall be responsible for the working of the machine under his charge. He shall be fully conversant with the rules of working of trains and of protection in case of emergency. He shall also ensure that the other staff deployed on the machine are fully conversant with the protection rules. He shall hold a valid certificate of competency for driving and working of the machine.

(b) The track machine shall work under the direct supervision of an engineering official not below the rank of PWI who will be responsible for taking the traffic block, for protection of the line while the work is in progress and clearing of the block after completion of the work when the last machine clears the block section and certifying that the track is fit for train movement.

(c) When the track machine is required to move from one block station to another block station, the operator shall run the machine with the proper authority to proceed as defined in GR 1.02/6.

(3) Each unit shall carry all safety equipments as specified under Para 1209.

(4) When more than one track machine is running in a block section, there should be a minimum distance of 120 metres between two units.

(5) While working on double/multiple lines, the engineering officials supervising the work of track machine shall ensure that no part of the machine fouls the adjacent track. In case infringement to adjacent track is inherent to the machine working which can be cleared at a short notice, the work should be carried out by protecting the infringed line by Engineering signals by Permanent Way Inspector as envisaged in Para 806.

(6) Each unit will run within the maximum permissible speed sanctioned for that type of machine on that section.

                                                                                                                               ANNEXURE-12/1 PARA 1224


Material Train Report of....................................................................train, ordered vide Divisional Engineer's/Assistant
Engineer's No................................................................working from
kilometre..................................Engine No............................................Class....................................composition of
Women .........................................................................................................................................................
Name of the Contractor.....................................................................................................................................

Contractor or  Inspector Material Train Assistant  Divisional
his authorised  No........... Guard/ Engineer.  Engineer.
agent Section Official. ................ Sub-Division Division
..................198.......... .................198......... ............198............ ...............198........ .......... 198.........

Note - On reverse of this form the class, capacity and number of each wagon should be shown; also, particulars of detentions to train other than for Engineering Work.