Shattering yet another glass ceiling, an all-women crew piloted a goods train from Vasai Road in Maharashtra's Palghar to Gujarat's Vadodara on Tuesday, Western Railway (WR) said on Wednesday.
"WR has broken yet another stereotype that has left an indomitable impression in the annals of history. The women have set a glaring example that no job is beyond the capacity of women to perform and excel," Western Railway General Manager Alok Kansal said.
The fully loaded goods train carrying a cargo of 3,686 tonnes in 43 closed wagons, departed from Vasai Road at 11.30 a.m. and reached Vadodara after 6 hours, running at an average speed of around 60 kmph.
It was operated by a young 3-member women team comprising Loco Pilot Kumkum S. Dongre, 34, Assistant Loco Pilot Udita Verma, 28, and Goods Guard Akanksha Ray, 29.
"This was a first of its kind for WR with an all-female crew manning a goods train. Due to the gruelling nature of the job of Guards & Loco pilots which also involves travelling long distances, very few women come forward to join these posts," said WR Chief Spokesperson Sumit Thakur.
The entire WR and railways department has lauded the initiative and felicitated the three women for their unprecedented achievement.
Thakur said this would prove to be a game-changer and inspire other women to take up such daunting jobs on the Indian Railways, which are now having women in virtually all departments, including many in heavy-duty jobs that were earlier considered a male domain.
"Western Railway is always encouraging the participation of women in each and every department, even in heavy-duty jobs which were earlier considered as men's domain," Thakur added.
A few years ago, the WR had its first Motorwoman - Preeti Kumari, for the onerous task of running Mumbai suburban trains, and it has female porters at various stations in the Bhavnagar Division, besides women in various other departments once dominated by males.
"There are female porters across various stations of Bhavnagar Division while closer home, Preeti Kumari is the first Motorwoman in WR to run Mumbai suburban local trains. Now, the women of our country are ready to accept challenging jobs and proving their abilities beyond the threshold of household chores. Western Railway salutes the courage & determination of these brave heart women employees," Sumit Thakur said.