HYDERABAD: On Women’s Day, the South Central Railway has decided to harness woman power to drive a train. S Satyavathi will become the first independent woman loco pilot, when she runs out the Falaknuma-Lingampalli Mathrubhoomi Ladies Special MMTS on Thursday. Satyavathi, who joined the Railways as assistant loco pilot in 1999 at Bengaluru, was later transferred to the Secunderabad division. She was promoted as loco pilot (goods) in September 2005 and had been shuttling goods trains in and around Hyderabad before her present promotion.
After successfully clearing her MMTS training in January this year, she was exposed to live handling and requisite track learning and was subsequently found fit to run MMTS trains in suburban sections of the twin cities. But the biggest achievement is that she will be single-handedly managing and working MMTS trains, without the help of an assistant loco pilot.
Satyavathi has also undergone track learning in Hyderabad-Tandur section and wants to run main line passenger trains too.
Driving loco trains, especially long distance passenger trains is a tough job. The work timings are not fixed and it involves continuous travel. Railways has a meticulous system of training its loco pilots and only suitable candidates, after rigorous training, are inducted into service.
Since train drivers frequently stay away from their headquarters, the Railways has rest houses exclusively meant for them at various railway stations. But this can be challenging for women drivers, making usage of such facilities awkward for them in many cases.
However SCR officials say they have addressed these issues before inducting Satyavathi. Moreover, Secunderabad division of SCR has four more women assistant loco pilots being groomed to be loco pilots in future.