Iron Rose of Nairobi Station Signal Specialty
I walked into the ICD Nairobi station on July 13th as a signalwoman after securing employment. I was welcomed by blossoming “Iron Rose” in the new post of Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.
“Train 81001 enters ICD.” The dispatch order from Nairobi station signal box was sent through the phone.
“81001 enters ICD, ICD signal box copy that!”
Having repeated the dispatch order, Edna carefully checked the printed shunting operation notice, clicked the clear signal and pointed horizontally or vertically on the signal screen with her right hand to confirm the cleared track direction…
Being the first female employee as an “on-duty personnel” by the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR Operation Company, the 25-year-old Edna performs joint control with on-duty personnel of Nairobi Station, drivers and shunting personnel according to train graph and construction plan.
She controls the entry and exit of the Locomotives, trains and shunting teams between ICD and stations to ensure safe and swift operation.
After the train stops, Edna fills in the track occupation board. “I need to fill in the train number of the track as well as anti-slipping situation, and then erase them after coupling.” She said while reaching out to the highly hunged board.
“ICD, the first dispatch arrives at the stop location”.
The driver reported to her from the interphone.
“ICD copy that”. Edna answered.
After asking the Nairobi Station signal box for instruction, she cleared the route to Nairobi. “Recently, when the freight arrival in Port Reitz Station surged, over 30 locomotives would enter ICD to pick up trains each day on average, thus we need to display signals for over 100 times for their entries and exits and don’t even have time for lunch if it happens to be noon time.” She said while monitoring the route.
A train goes through more than 10 operation steps when it arrives in Nairobi until when it departs. The on-duty personal at the ICD Station gives a dozen of instructions to various coordinating posts.
On each shift, she calls in standard joint control language several times and has to repeat the call until the recipient can repeat the instruction with every single word correctly.
“I feel an extraordinary sense of achievement when seeing lines of train strip lights safely and punctually exit in front of the screen displaying various train operation information on the console,” Edna said, “despite the shippers’ unawareness of us, we can totally understand our customers’ urgency to ship their freight.”
Edna, who was newly employed as a signalwoman in early July, received much commendation from on-duty personnel Wang Yongjun of the same shift. “Out of four new employees, Edna made the quickest progress. Now she is in charge of signal operation, I am about to lose my job!” Wang joked.
“As a signalwoman, according to Company rules, I will be qualified to take examinations for a superior level after two years.” she expressed her hope for the future.
With four ICD signalwomen in office taking charge of the train movement, the localization process in the Transport Department is being realized.
Peng Chaoyong, head of Department of Transportation said that next, outstanding Kenyan employees will be selected to serve as deputy head of Terminus and deputy director of workshop. “The current assistant on-duty personnel and signalwomen will have an opportunity to enter the post of station on-deputy personnel.”
We wish the best to Edna who is totally devoted in her work, may every iron rose like Edna, grow up quickly and blossom splendidly in the Operation Company’s journey to become an “internationally reputed specialized railway operation service provider”.