If you've ever taken a long train trip, you know that getting a good night's sleep can be difficult. It's not just that the train is moving, but the crew members are on call 24 hours a day to deal with issues such as mechanical failure or train delays. These factors can throw off the rhythm of sleep and disrupt a train driver's circadian rhythm, leading to increased fatigue levels.
To address these concerns, train companies implement fatigue management systems that include assessments and monitoring technology to ensure that their drivers are well rested. Many also provide on-board sleeping facilities to allow train drivers to get adequate rest during their shifts.
In addition to on-board resting quarters, train companies often offer other amenities such as food and beverage services, lounges, and recreational spaces to create a relaxing environment for their employees during breaks. Moreover, some countries have specific regulations that govern the number of sleep and break periods that train drivers must take during their shifts.
To better understand the relationship between work schedules, health, and fatigue among train drivers, researchers conducted a survey of 751 passenger and freight train drivers. They surveyed participants about their satisfaction with their sleep amount and quality, wellbeing, fatigue, and outside work factors that negatively impact their driving performance. Analyses indicated that the most important factor that negatively impacts day-to-day driving performance was the irregularity of their approved roster. Specifically, train drivers with more frequent changes in their work schedules reported less satisfied with their sleep and experienced more fatigue.