Mumbai: On International Women’s Day, Central Railways will be running its prestigious Deccan Queen Express with an all-woman crew.
Deccan Queen Express runs every day between Mumbai and Pune but for the first time an all-woman crew will manage the train. Surekha will be on the driving seat and Trushna Joshi will assist her.
Sweta Ghone will be the ‘on duty guard’ of the Deccan Queen Express and will be giving clearance by waving the green flag on Women’s Day. The crew, including the ticket checking staff, RPF personnel and electric technician, will also be all-woman.
Surekha Yadav, who hails from Satara but is based out of Mumbai, says that both running of local train and outstation mail trains have their own set of challenges. While local trains on the suburban system have to stop every few minutes and have many trespassers which have to be handled single handedly, the outstation mail trains demand much more concentration and team work.
However, she too is looking forward to an-all woman crew. “We do have about a dozen women now but because everyone is put on different work, so I had never managed to work with other woman. It’s going to be a different day on March 8”, said Yadav.
Surekha gives credit to her policeman husband and her entire family for being able to give all the support to let her work in the male-dominated railway loco pilot bastion.
For the last few days the Central Railways had been working to identify all the women who could be put together to build this all-woman crew aboard Deccan Queen Express.
Brain child of Central Railway general manager DK Sharma, railways will not just be running a mail service by an all-woman crew but a local train service in Mumbai too will be leaving Kalyan early to reach Mumbai and will be driven by a motorwoman and a female guard wil be present.
The ladies special local train from Kalyan will have all-woman passengers and will be steered by Mumtaz Kazi, the first motorwoman of India and also the recipient of the President’s Award.
Previously, the Central Railways had made it to the Limca Book of Records because the Matunga station became the first all-woman staff station of the Indian Railways.
Now Ajni station, a suburban railway station around 3kms away from Nagpur division, has also been identified for this experiment and will be functional from Thursday as an all-woman station.