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Husband: Shankar Yadav
Age: 57 Years
Some Lesser Known Facts About Surekha Yadav
- Surekha Yadav is an Indian Loco Pilot, who is Asia’s first women train driver. In 2023, Surekha became the country’s first woman locomotive driver to run the semi-high-speed train, Vande Bharat Express, operated by the Indian railways.
- Surekha, after her schooling, took vocational education and training.
- According to Surekha, since her childhood, she was inspired by Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi and Indra Gandhi.
- After completing her Diploma in Medical Engineering, Surekha wanted to pursue further studies in mathematics and a B.Ed degree to become a teacher; however, in 1986, she came across a job vacancy for an assistant locomotive driver by the Indian railways. She applied for the post and was shortlisted. Later, she gave a written test and interview at the Railway Recruitment Board, Mumbai, and was hired for the post. In an interview, Surekha talked about this and said,
It’s the most ordinary story you’ll ever hear. I had only completed my diploma in electrical engineering. Just like most other students, I was looking for a full-time employment opportunity. Word got around that the Indian Railways had a vacant position for an assistant driver and the requirement stated ‘diploma in any faculty’ were welcome to apply.”
- According to Surekha, she was the only female applicant for the job of an assistant locomotive driver by the Indian Railways in 1986.
- After Surekha got shortlisted, she started training at the Kalyan Training School in Mumbai and joined the Indian Railways as a trainee assistant train driver.
- The first train operated by Surekha was numbered L-50, which ran between Wadi Bunder and Kalyan, Maharashtra.
- From 1989-1996, she worked as an assistant locomotive driver for freight trains in Maharashtra. As an assistant train driver, she was assigned to check the running condition of a train’s engine and the signals.
- In 1990, Surekha got married to a police inspector named Shankar Yadav. Surekha, during an interview, talked about her husband and mentioned that he was one of the reasons she was successful in her career. She said,
Yes, my husband supported me throughout my career. He is one of the main reasons why I could reach this level today. It does become easier if your family supports your career choices. First, you need to figure out what you want to do in life and stick to it with hard work and dedication. Seeing your passion and determination, your family is bound to support you eventually.”
- In 1996, she became a full-fledged locomotive driver and operated various freight trains and passenger trains in Mumbai.
- In 2000, she was promoted to the post of motor woman and became the first loco pilot of the ‘Ladies Special’ local train for Central Railways.
- In 2010, she became a locomotive driver on the Western Ghat Railway Line.
- On International Women’s Day in 2011, she operated the Deccan Queen from Pune to CST. According to sources, the train route from Pune to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is known to be one of the most difficult train routes in India.
- On 8 March 2021, on International Women’s Day, she was assigned to operate a special train from Mumbai to Lucknow with an all-woman crew.
- In March 2023, on the occasion of International Women’s day, she became the first woman to operate the Solapur-CSMT Vande Bharat Express train. The Indian Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, took the news to Twitter and said,
Vande Bharat — powered by Nari Shakti. Smt. Surekha Yadav, the first woman loco pilot of Vande Bharat Express.”
Vande Bharat – powered by Nari Shakti.
Smt. Surekha Yadav, the first woman loco pilot of Vande Bharat Express. pic.twitter.com/MqVjpgm4EO
— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) March 13, 2023
- During an interview, when Surekha was asked to share one of the moments she felt proud to be a woman, she said,
The first time, when I drove a train as a driver, that would be the moment when I felt proud to be a woman.”
- In an interview, Surekha talked about her career as a train driver and explained one of her memorable train journeys as a locomotive engineer. She said,
In 2018, I drove a passenger train from Mumbai to Pune. That would be my most memorable journey, as I drove the train through many difficult turns and the entire route was scenic. It was an all-female staff on that train too.”
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