Surekha Yadav

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Surekha Yadav
Surekha Yadav.png
Surekha R. Bhosale

(1965-09-02) 2 September 1965 (age 53)
EmployerIndian Railways, CSTM, Central Railway.
Known forIndia's first female (locopilot) train driver
Spouse(s)Shankar Yadav
Parent(s)Sonabai & Ramchandra Bhosale

Surekha Yadav née Surekha Shankar Yadav (born 2 September 1965) is a female locopilot (train driver) of the Indian Railways in India,.[1][2] She became India's first female train driver in 1988. She drove the first "Ladies Special" local train for Central Railways when it was first introduced in the four metro cities by Mamata Banerjee the then Railway Minister, in April 2000.[3][4] A momentous event in her career was on 8 March 2011, on the International Women's Day, when she became Asia's first woman train driver to drive the Deccan Queen from Pune to CST, through difficult but scenic topography,[3][5][6] where she was greeted by the then Mayor of Mumbai Shraddha Jadhav, at CST, the headquarter of Central Railway zone.[6] It was Surekha's dream-come-true as she drove one of the prestigious trains of the Central Railway, which carries the female of name; the Mumbai-Pune Railway Pravasi Sangh (association) strongly supported her to run this train.[7] However, a commonly heard comment on her driving is that "Women don't drive railway engines'".[1]

Early life[edit]

Surekha was born in Satara in Maharashtra on 2 September 1965 to Sonabai and Ramchandra Bhosale. Her father late.Ramchandra Bhosale was a farmer; she is the eldest of his five children.[8] She had initial schooling at Saint Paul Convent High School, Satara. After completion of schooling, she took admission for vocation training and then studied for a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Government Polytechnic at Karad in the Satara district of western Maharashtra [2][9] She wanted to continue her college studies to get graduate degrees of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in mathematics and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) to become a teacher, but a job opportunity in the Indian Railways put an end to her further studies.[8]

Professional life[edit]

Yadav was interviewed by the Railway Recruitment Board, Mumbai, in 1987. She was selected and joined the Central Railway as a trainee assistant driver in 1986 at the Kalyan Training School where she trained for six months.[9][10][9] She became a regular assistant driver in 1989.[7] The first local goods train that she piloted was numbered L-50, which runs between Wadi Bunder and Kalyan when she was assigned the task of checking the running condition of train's engine, the signals and all related works.[8][9] She was then assigned to work as a goods train driver in l996. In 1998, she became a full-fledged goods train driver.[9][10] In 2010, she became a ghat driver on the Western Ghat railway line.[7] For driving a “ghat loco”, in the ghat (hill) section of the Western Ghats, she received special training to run the twin-engined passenger trains that negotiate the hills of western Maharashtra. She said that "Because I was the only woman, they were curious whether I could do it or not".[4] As an assistant driver, she drove shunters.[2] She was promoted as motor-woman in 2000. In this capacity her occupying motorman's cabin in the train attracted attention and there were admirers seeking her autograph.[9] In May 2011, she was promoted as an express mail driver.[3] She is currently teaching in Driver's Training Centre (DTC) Kalyan, as Senior Instructor.

When she joined service with the Indian Railways, she realized that she was the first woman to drive a railway train in India, which till then was totally a male bastion. Other women were inspired by her, and as of 2011 there were 50 women locomotive drivers who were operating suburban trains and goods trains, and also as shunters or assistant drivers.[5] For pursuing a career as train driver in Mumbai, she said that she received full support from her family, friends and colleagues and has not experienced any discrimination as a woman. Even though she does not know how to drive a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler vehicle, she is happy driving a 9 or 12 car rake of a suburban train which carries 4,500 people. She is dedicated to run trains safely with full presence of mind, as the risks faced could be in the form of breakdowns due to mechanical problems, chain-pulling, rasta rokos (a form of protest in India to stop trains or block roads), and people or animals crossing the track suddenly, which need right thinking, prompt and quick action.[7][11] She has no record of train accidents.[8] She has so far driven many types of trains such as local suburban trains, ghat trains with twin engines (hill section train on the Western Ghat), goods and mail express trains.,[5][12] and she works for ten hours a day.[4] Her ambition is to drive a long distance passenger train.[9] She has also participated in activities to check eve-teasing.[4]

In 1991, Surekha acted in a television serial titled "Hum Bhi Kisise Kum Nahi (we are second to none)". She has received adulation from several organizations for her unique role as a woman train driver. She has given interviews several times on national and international TV channels.[2]

Personal life[edit]

She got married in 1990 to Shankar Yadav,[13] who is a Police Inspector in the Government of Maharashtra. They have 2 sons, Ajinkya (1991) and Ajitesh (1994), both being students of Engineering in Mumbai University. Her husband is supportive of her work.[9][13]

Awards Received[edit]

  • Jijau puraskar (1998)
  • Women achievers award (2001) (by lions)
  • Rashtriya mahila aayog, delhi (2001)
  • Lokmat sakhi manch (2002)
  • S.B.I. Platinum jubilee year celebrations (2003-2004)
  • Sahyadri hirkani award (2004)
  • Prerna puraskar (2005)
  • G.M.award (2011)
  • Woman achievers award (2011) (by central railway)
  • RWCC Best Women award of year 2013. For first lady locopilot on Indian Railways on date 5 April 2013
  • GM award for first lady locopilot on Indian Railways. April 2011

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b & Rights 2001, p. 185.
  2. ^ a b c d Hanshaw 2003, p. 96.
  3. ^ a b c "Bold, Bindaas And Successful". Cityplus. 10 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d "Indian Female Engine Loco Drivers".
  5. ^ a b c "Realigning the tracks". The Hindu. 8 January 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Mumbai Western Railway believes in woman-power". DNAIndia. 9 March 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d Costa, Roana Maria (8 March 2011). "Asia's first motor woman to pilot Deccan Queen". The Times of India.
  8. ^ a b c d Nair, Sulekha (31 May 2000). "The woman in the engine". The Indian Express.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Railwaywomen Around The World - A selection of press cuttings - India: Surekha Yadav (source: The Financial Express)". Hastings Press. 2001.
  10. ^ a b Book 2006, p. 230.
  11. ^ "Driving 45,000 people to work Surekha YADAV (44) Train Driver, Mumbai". The Times of India epaper. 7 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Modern Indian Women: The Pioneers". Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
  13. ^ a b Documentation on Women, Children & Human Rights. Sandarbhini, Library and Documentation Centre, All India Association for Christian Higher Education. 2001.