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Meet Surekha Yadav, Asia’s 1st Woman Loco Pilot

Bharat powered by Nari Shakti – Surekha Yadav scripts history by becoming the first woman loco pilot of a semi-high-speed train

Women’s struggle for respect, power, and, most indispensably, space, has been quite a long and arduous path.  It would be hard to believe for the people of yore to see women pilots or women train drivers, among other titles, in a male-dominated world where female chauffeurs are easily stereotyped as bad drivers. However, defying all the judgments, we are proud to see the strides that the puissance of gender has created.

Surekha Yadav recently became the first woman to operate the newly introduced semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express train. Yadav piloted the semi-high-speed train between Solapur Station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai on March 13.

Who is Surekha Yadav?

Surekha Yadav is the first woman loco pilot of the CST to Pune Deccan Queen train, which navigates through the Western Ghats. This is not the first time she has broken the proverbial glass ceiling. Earlier, she had earned the distinction of becoming India’s first female train driver in 1988.

In 2000, she became the first loco pilot of the ‘Ladies Special’ local train for Central Railways. In 2010, she was designated as a Ghat driver who is adept at manoeuvring trains through treacherous mountain ranges. In 2021, Yadav also led the first all-women-staffed Mumbai-Lucknow special train on the occasion of International Women‘s Day.

Surekha Yadav, a 33-year-old mother of a 5-year-old daughter, hails from a small village in Maharashtra. She always dreamed of becoming a train driver since her childhood and worked hard to make it a reality. After completing her graduation, Surekha joined the Indian Railways as a ticket collector. She then underwent rigorous training to become a loco pilot, and her hard work finally paid off when she was allowed to operate the Vande Bharat Express.

 The Vande Bharat Express is India’s fastest and most advanced train, which runs between Delhi and Varanasi. Surekha Yadav, as the loco pilot, was responsible for driving the train at speed of up to 160 km/hour. She handled the train with great ease and expertise, demonstrating her exceptional skills as a train driver.

Sharing the news, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Vande Bharat powered by Nari Shakti.”

Read more:- 5 Women IAS Officers Who Inspire Us

The train departed Solapur station at right time on March 13 and reached CSMT five minutes before the scheduled arrival, a Central Railway release said, adding that on completion of a more than 450-km long journey, Yadav was felicitated at platform number 8 at CSMT.

Surekha Yadav’s achievement is a testament to the fact that women are capable of breaking barriers and achieving greatness in any field they choose. Her story is an inspiration to millions of women across the world who face challenges and obstacles in pursuing their dreams.

 We congratulate Surekha Yadav on her historic achievement and hope her success will encourage more women to pursue their dreams and break barriers. Let’s celebrate Surekha Yadav and all the women who are breaking stereotypes and making a difference in the world.

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Ayushi Mittal

In her journey to become a journalist, Ayushi can inculcate your tale through her news writings. You may find her with a mike in protests, rallies, or in museums. So what's your story?
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