Railways Makes Life Hard for Women Loco Pilots

Published: 01st November 2014 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2014 08:01 AM   |  A+A-

KOLLAM: The Railways broke a major gender barrier when it allowed women to pilot trains, but has failed miserably to display gender sensitivity by upgrading facilities for them in what is still predominantly a male  preserve.

Sheeja-Kumari.jpg“Kids waving their hands at trains often remind me of my own  children aged 7 and 4 back home. At times I have felt going home to  attend to them after duty hours. But often the running time extends beyond 10 hours and I end up in some running room for staff,” said Sheeja  Kumari, who became an assistant loco pilot years ago after clearing the Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) test. When Express met her at the Kollam railway station she had a memo in hand that advised her to put in additional hours of duty.

The loco pilots can be given memo at any station to continue the journey  even if they had completed their working hours.

The woes faced by loco pilots are many, especially for women, who do not have the luxury of separate resting rooms.  When she took up the job, Sheeja never thought she will have to run the trains for more than four consecutive nights, sit in a cabin without toilet facilities for more than 10 hours at a stretch braving the heat from the engine, or sleep in running rooms without any safety for women.

Railways may not have bothered to build separate facilities for women loco pilots considering there are only five of them in the state. “We are giving them excellent facilities. But the job is tough and in the first place who told them to venture into a male dominated profession like this,” said a senior railway official, while recently on a visit to Punalur.

According to loco pilots, the number of such memos being served has increased and is the new norm in the Railways, thanks to the delay in filling vacancies.

“I could not have continued my work without the support of my husband who is also a loco pilot,” said Sheeja.

The erratic nature of work, which involves excruciatingly long schedules has taken a toll of her social and family life, but for the passengers it is a major safety worry.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kerala news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp