Rules for Shunting Operations

compiled by Zubin Dotivala, 2004-03-07

Disclaimer: The information presented here is neither complete nor accurate. Complete details on the topics here are available only from Indian Railways and other official organizations. The material here is not a substitute for the official documentation or official training procedures, which are provided to duly authorized personnel. Do not use the information here to design, build, operate, repair, or maintain any equipment.

Shunting operations are performed at stations or yards. Coaching stock as well as goods stock are shunted with the help of a shunting loco as required.

While attaching the loco to the coach or wagon, the following precautions should be taken. This is also applicable for locos being taken on load. (Precautions are given in General Rules 5.13, 5.14 & 5.15.)

  1. While approaching the wagon or coach for shunting purpose, the driver must work the loco only with the leading cab as this provides better visibility and allows the driver to judge the positions accurately.
  2. The loco should be stopped about 20m in advance of the coach to which the loco is to be attached. After this the loco should be moved at 'dead slow' speed towards the coach or wagon following the signals of the pointsman or guard so that the loco moves up and makes contact with the coach or wagon smoothly and without any jerk.
  3. While attaching locos with coaches or wagons at stations where the gradient is steeper than 1 in 400 falling away from the station (and towards approaching trains), shunting should be performed with the loco leading towards the falling gradient (at class B stations).


Loose shunting means vehicles being pushed by an loco and being allowed to run forward unattached (uncoupled). It includes hump shunting. Cranes, vehicles carrying passengers, workers, explosives, dangerous goods, livestock or any other specified vehicles should not be loose shunted.


The speed during shunting operations should not exceed 15km/h.


At stations other than roadside stations where separate shunting staff is provided, the shunting operation must be supervised by the competent person as specified in station working rules. At roadside stations, the guard-in-charge of the train must personally supervise all shunting connected with his train under instructions of the station master.