How to become a loco pilot in Indian Railways?

Most of us love to drive. Starting from the bicycle you had when you were a child to the motor car you’re using now, driving is a rejuvenating experience for those who like it. To be behind the steering wheel, controlling a vessel that is capable of taking us anywhere we wish, with all that adrenaline rush, is a feeling of its own. Bikes, cars, vans, your passion must have led you to try all of that. Maybe even trucks. Now, what’s left to try? A train? 

Yes, A train. How about getting to drive a train? Don’t worry, this is no joke. A train definitely has a driver. He or she is often referred to as a loco pilot and is responsible for tracking the route, controlling the speed, ensuring the safety of passengers and goods, predicting signal errors and even carrying out minor maintenance works if necessary.

As a matter of fact, In Indian railways, Loco-Pilots are the most important person in executing the huge task of transporting nearly 25 million passengers and more than 2.8 Million Tons of freight daily with the help of 2,29,381 wagons, 59,713 coaches and more than 9,213 locomotive engines of various kinds. If this definition of a train driver’s role interests you, I can tell you how to get there. Please note, we will be talking about loco pilots in Indian Railways. So, people from other countries can skip this article.

How to become a loco pilot in Indian Railways?

Indian railways have a large fleet of trains and therefore thousands of men to keep the institution running. Being the cheapest and most popular transportation facility in the world’s second most populated country has only increased the need for more human resources in the railways. Most of these posts are filled either through department wise promotion or RRB recruitment process conducted by the Railway recruitment board.

Like most other permanent posts in railways, the journey towards becoming a loco pilot also starts with RRB recruitment process. But that doesn’t mean you have a direct route. As of now, there is no direct recruitment for the post of loco pilot in Indian Railways. You’ve to get in as an assistant loco pilot and climb up the ladder to the position of a loco pilot.

Now, who is an assistant loco pilot and how is his or her job different from that of a loco pilot?

An assistant loco pilot is a group C personal post and is pretty common in Indian Railways and various metro corporations. As the name suggests, the job role involves assisting the loco pilot of a train. His or her duties include providing aid to the loco pilot in duties such as calling out signals as soon as one is sighted, fine-tuning the Loco, attending to minor repairs of the Loco. Apart from this,  An assistant loco pilot will be required to maintain attention for long hours and must be able to provide a quick response to situations. 

How to become an assistant loco pilot in Indian Railways?

Railway recruitment conducts national level competitive exams for the recruitment of assistant loco pilots. The exam involves 3 computer based tests, CBT 1, CBT2 and CBAT, followed by medical examination and document verification. A candidate has to clear all these stages to get selected for the post of an assistant loco pilot in Indian railways. 

Computer based test 1 (CBT 1)

This is the first stage of the recruitment process. This exam will only have a single part with 75 questions. Candidates will be allotted a time of 1 hour for completing the test. The questions will be from subjects such as Maths, General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Science and Current Affairs. Also, there will be negative marks for wrong answers.

Computer based test 2 (CBT 2)

CBT 1 will be followed by CBT 2. This test will have two parts. The first part, part A, will have 100 questions. A time period of 90 minutes will be allotted for completing this part. The second part, part B, will have 75 questions. The time allotted for completing this part is 60 minutes. Again, the questions will be from Maths, General Intelligence & Reasoning, General Science and Current Affairs. Also, there will be negative marks for wrong answers.

Computer Based Aptitude Test (CBAT)

The third stage is the Computer based Aptitude test. Only the candidates who qualify both CBT 1 and CBT 2 will be allowed to attempt this round. A candidates general aptitude for this job role will be tested. 

Once all these tests are over, the selected candidates will be called for medical examination and documentation. And that’s the last hurdle before starting your career as an assistant loco pilot in Indian railways. Remember railways conduct these tests only when vacancies are available. So, if you miss one chance, there is no guarantee that you will get another soon. 

Eligibility criteria for RRB assistant loco pilot recruitment

Now, another important part, the eligibility criteria. You must be knowing that not everyone is qualified to register for this recruitment process. There are academic and physical requirements that need to be met.

Let’s start with the academic requirements. The job has a lot to do with machines. So, you can’t expect them to hire someone who knows nothing about machines. The candidates should either be someone who has completed ACTC apprenticeship after passing 10th or someone who completed ITI in any mechanics related trade. Applicants with a diploma in Mechanical/Electrical/Electronics/Automobile Engineering from an institution recognized by AICTE are also allowed. Apart from this, regular mechanical or electrical engineering graduates can apply for this position. 

Coming to the age limits, for general candidates, the age should be between 18 and 28. But for other categories, there will be relaxation on the upper age limit.

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