An unexpected situation may emerge anytime in train and at such time you need to stop the train immediately to overcome the emergency. Indian Railways, for the ease of passengers, has provided emergency chain brakes in every coach for the passengers to prevent any unhappening circumstances during the journey. Each train is armed with an Alarm Chain which travelers can use to make a running train come to a standstill. As soon as the chain is pulled by the passenger, it activates the emergency brakes to stop the train. In India, chain pulling is a serious issue in the railway system, as miscreants do so to make unscheduled stops near their destination. Often, chain pulling is done for genuine and malicious reasons where passengers want to make the train stop for their convenience. However, Indian Railways have framed serious laws and regulations regarding chain pulling which everyone must know to avoid any penalties or serious legal actions by Indian Railways.

Number of chains in the Train!
The alarm chains in the train are meant to be used only during acute emergency. Earlier, Railways embedded an alarm chain in either side of the coaches. Today, Indian Railways have slashed the numbers of chains as misuse of this facility was rising high. Now there is only a single chain in every coach located in the mid of every coach.

News: 650 Arrested for Pulling Chains In 6 Months: In a report published by, northern railway officials have arrested more than 650 people for Alarm Chain Pulling (ACP) causing inconvenience to passengers and delaying the train. Railways categorize this action as a criminal act under section 141 of The Railway Act 1989. Pulling chains for frivolous reasons may lead to arrest and penalties.

News: Southern Railway arrested 737 People arrested for unauthorized ACP: In a report, Sothern Railway discloses that 737 people were arrested for unauthorized alarm chain pulling during the period of January-June 2018. The pulling of chain was without any valid reasons like purchase of eatables or when someone couldn’t board the train.

Role of Loco Pilot when Miscreants Pull Chain:
Indian Railways have updated their rules in terms of the duty of a Loco Pilot. Earlier, loco pilot were authorized to override the emergency brakes, which means any passenger when pulls an alarm chain, even for multiple times, the train wouldn’t come to a halt. In present days, loco pilots can only override the brakes in certain defined scenarios. If the loco pilot overrides the brake system, then such abrogation of duty is answerable to the senior railway officials.

Can RPF Know about Alarm Chain Pulling?
Have you ever wondered that how RPF officer enters the exact coach after chain pulling? That’s the magic of emergency flashers located on the side walls of the train. These flashers are triggered in the coach from where chain was pulled, and a light starts blinking through which the RPF personnel can easily locate the coach. After the manual setup of the chain, the train is ready to depart and run at its speed.
Note:The RPF officer can easily identify the coach but can’t trace the person who pulled the chain.

What are the Genuine Reasons to Chain Pulling?

  • Medical emergency: When any passenger needs a medical help like immediate treatment, medicines or hospitalization in any area nearby or at any station.
  • Fire in the Train: Accidents are inevitable. The passengers can pull chain from their coach in case there is a fire in the train.
  • Boarding with an elderly or disabled person: Pulling of the chain while boarding with an elder or a disabled person is not a crime. There are chances that elder and disabled persons take time to board in train. Deliberately pulling a chain to delay the train for making someone board is a crime.
  • Safety emergencies: In the case of events like robbery, dacoits in Naxalite areas etc.

Punishment for Chain Pulling:
Section 141 of the Indian Railways Act specifies that “Needlessly interfering with means of communication in a train.—If any passenger or any other person, without reasonable and sufficient cause, makes use of, or interferes with, any means provided by a railway administration in a train for communication between passengers and the railway servant in charge of the train, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both: Provided that, in the absence of special and adequate reasons to the contrary to be mentioned in the judgment of the court, where a passenger, without reasonable and sufficient cause, makes use of the alarm chain provided by a railway administration, such punishment shall not be less than—
(a) a fine of five hundred rupees, in the case of conviction for the first offence; and
(b) imprisonment for three months in case of conviction for the second or subsequent offence.

The section clearly defines that if any person causes any disturbance in the smooth communication of Indian Railways by alarm chain pulling, is liable for legal actions. The punishment will be in the form of penalty of INR 500 or an imprisonment of 3 months. So, before you pull the chain, remember these rules to save you from any punishments or legal hassles.

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Author: Amit Roy

Amit is a Digital Marketing & Alliance Strategist at Railrestro. He is a jack-of-all-trades kinda person in the world of Internet marketing, excelling in market research to come up with a strategy based on the