Women Talk

Meet Surekha Yadav: Asia’s first woman train driver!

How did Surekha Yadav Become India’s First Woman Train Driver?

Today, the whole of Asia including India knows her name. By becoming the first woman train driver in Asia, Surekha Yadav has registered her name in history. Because before this, Surekha performed this work done only by men very well without any hesitation. Surekha Yadav never dreamt that she would become the first woman driver of a train. She wanted to work as a teacher after her studies. But her fate had something else in mind! She had never dreamt of becoming a train driver in her life. But they say no, your luck is a big thing. Well, Surekha’s journey from becoming a teacher in electrical engineering to becoming the first loco-pilot in Asia is quite an interesting one.

She filled the train driver’s form

Surekha, born in 1965, is the eldest of five siblings. Her father’s name is Ramchandra Bhonsle and mother’s name is Sonabai. Surekha’s childhood was spent in Satara, Maharashtra. After studying from a convent school, she also took vocational training. Often, electrical engineering is understood to be only for boys. In such a period, Surekha set an example by choosing this subject. Interestingly, Surekha wanted to become a teacher. But, suddenly from somewhere in her ears the news of recruitment on vacant posts in Assistant Driver in Railways came. Since she did electrical engineering, she was eligible for it. Eventually she applied.

The only girl who gave this exam

When Surekha reached the exam hall to take the written test, she was shocked. That’s because only men had applied for this post. She was the only woman who had applied for the post. Surekha had no idea that no woman had worked in this position in the Railways before. But since then, she had to create history by coming to this area. So, she went on crossing all the stops one after the other. She easily crossed all the stages including written and interview. After this success, she was sent for training as Trainee Assistant Driver. Her training lasted for six months at the Kalyan Training School. After learning the nuances during the training, she was appointed as an assistant driver in 1989. With this, she became the first woman in Asia, including India, who broke the dominance of men. She had proved by driving the train that women are not less in any field. Just need to take a step. It is worth mentioning that the train is a machine, it does not know who is sitting behind it. These divided jobs by society have always been undermining women. In such a situation, Surekha’s initiative was a slap on such thinking.

Read More: 3 Magical things that every successful woman does at work

When she becomes a good train driver

She gave her 29 years to the Railways. She started her career by driving a local freight train named L50. After this, she was entrusted with the work related to the engine and signal of the train, which she performed very well. This was the reason that in the year 1998, she became a full-fledged goods train driver. The most challenging time of her career came when she was assigned to drive on the Western Ghats. While driving this two-engine train, good people get scared, but Surekha fulfilled this challenge as well. Surekha’s steps never wavered on the rough roads of the mountains of Maharashtra. Earlier, no woman had commanded the ‘Ghat-Loco’ driver. Surekha became the first woman to be entrusted with this responsibility. In this way she completed every challenge well. This was the reason that after promoting her, she was appointed to the post of Express Mail Driver in the year 2011.

She received the title of ‘Asia’s first female train driver’ in 2011

In the year 2000, the then Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee had run a special local train for women. Then her driver was none other than Surekha. The golden moment in her life came when she was given the title of being Asia’s first woman driver on Women’s Day in 2011. This title was also big because she was driving on the CST route from Deccan Queen in Pune, which is considered to be the most dangerous route. In this sequence, since 2011, she has been training at Kalyan Driving School. Along with this, she is also sitting on the post of Senior Instructor. She married a police inspector in 1990. She also has two children.

Surekha had said that despite her lack of trust, her family and friends always supported her. She never saw herself as a woman and she is doing this work. She always saw herself as an employee who had to fulfill her responsibilities. That’s why she remains a source of inspiration!

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Jagisha Arora

MA in History and has worked as a freelance writer. She writes on issues of gender, caste and democracy.
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