Indian Railways is an important part of the economy. One of the main reasons for this is that this sector is providing employment to more than 15 lakh people. This is a huge number in terms of the employment base by any single recruiter. There are many other facts regarding Indian railway which makes people more interested in knowing about the various things related to it. In this article, we are going to talk about such an aspect of the railways-Shunting. Shunting means moving a vehicle or vehicles with an engine or without it, for the purpose of transfer, attaching, detaching or any other purpose. In other words, it can be said that shunting in railway means moving a wagon or wagons,not for transferring the passengers or any material, but for any other purpose. These other purposes may be coupling or decoupling of the wagons or the maintenance/cleaning of the wagons, transferring the wagons from platform to yards and vice versa etc. Shunting is an important task which needs to be performed by the railway administration on the daily basis. In the coming section, we will be talking about the different major types of the shunting. So, without any delay, let’s get started.
- Hand shunting: hand shunting is the type of shunting which was used by the railways in the earlier times. Vehicles/wagons were moved by pushing them with the human hands in yards. This type of the shunting is considered very dangerous as earlier, there used to be many accidents because of this manual shunting. An ambulance wagon was also kept near the location where the wagons were used to be shunted, so that medical support could be provided to any injured worker.
- Loose shunting: This type of shunting is usually performed in the big yards. Loose shunting is also of two types-Fly shunting and hump shunting. Hump shunting is a technique under which the wagons are propelled by the railway locomotives to the summit of an artificial hump on the railway track. At the peak of the artificial hump, the locomotive stops and the wagon continues to move because of the gravitational force into one direction. While the fly shunting is a method, where the wagons are moved without any automatic brakes. The pace of the railway wagon is controlled with the help of the hand brakes and the rail track retarders. However, loose shunting is not done when the wagons are carrying any dangerous material such as petroleum products.
- Push-pull shunting: This is the method of shunting which is being used in the current times by most of the railway authorities. The reason behind this is because this type of shunting is the safest to be used by the railway workers. Wagons which are to be shunted are attached with an engine and then they are moved to the location where they need to be reached. This type of shunting saves a lot of time and labour also. Even specially designed shunting railway engine are used for shunting the wagons/vehicles.
These were the major types of the shunting, some of which were used earlier, while some are being followed today.