Surekha Yadav: Pioneering India’s Railway Industry as the First Female Train Driver

Surekha Yadav: Pioneering India's Railway Industry as the First Female Train Driver
Surekha Yadav: Pioneering India's Railway Industry as the First Female Train Driver

Surekha Yadav, born on September 2nd, 1965, in Satara, Maharashtra, has left an indelible mark in a traditionally male-dominated field by achieving the distinction of becoming India’s first female train driver. Her incredible journey is a testament to courage, unwavering determination, and an unbreakable resolve to shatter stereotypes and pave the way for gender equality. Surekha’s narrative stands as an inspiration for countless individuals, and her enduring legacy remains a compelling symbol of hope and empowerment.

Surekha Yadav’s educational journey began at Saint Paul Convent High School, where she pursued her initial schooling. After completing her school education, she embarked on vocational training and earned a Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Government Polytechnic in Karad, Maharashtra. Her aspirations for higher education took a different path when she joined the Indian Railways.

Surekha Yadav’s journey into the railway industry commenced when she was selected by the Railway Recruitment Board, Mumbai, in 1987. She joined the Central Railway as a trainee assistant driver in 1986, undergoing rigorous training at the Kalyan Training School for six months. Her unwavering dedication earned her the role of a regular assistant driver in 1989.

Surekha’s dedication and determination led her to pilot various types of trains. She steered her first local goods train, numbered L-50, where she meticulously oversaw engine conditions, signals, and related responsibilities. Her steadfast commitment propelled her through the ranks, culminating in her becoming a full-fledged goods train driver in 1998. In 2010, she took on the challenging role of a train driver on the Western Ghat railway line.

Surekha’s legacy endures as she made history by driving an all-women crewed train from Mumbai to Lucknow in 2021. She continued to break barriers by becoming the first woman to operate the semi-high-speed “Vande Bharat Express” in 2023.

Surekha’s journey reflects a transformative shift towards gender equality in unconventional domains. Her triumph underscored the paramount importance of equal opportunities, regardless of gender, and served as an inspiration to countless women aspiring to break barriers. Her dedication resonated with aspiring women, leading to a significant increase in the number of women locomotive drivers joining the ranks of suburban and goods train operators by 2011.

Surekha Yadav’s influence extended beyond her remarkable professional achievements. As a role model and advocate of gender equality, she demonstrated the boundless potential for women in traditionally male-dominated sectors.