Suresh Dharur, Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, March 9. For S Satyavathi, Women’s Day turned out to be a truly special day in her career. She stormed yet a male bastion to become the first woman loco pilot in Andhra Pradesh.
Joining the Railways in 1999 as an assistant loco pilot, Satyavathi’s tryst with the destiny came, quite fittingly, on Women’s Day when she drove a suburban train in the city. Without any assistant pilot, she independently handled the Mathrubhoomi Ladies Special MMTS train from Falaknuma to Lingampally.
The feat has earned her the distinction of being the first independent woman loco pilot in the state. The Platform Number 7 at Secunderabad Railway Station, the headquarters of South Central Railway, wore a festive look as officials and members of the railway unions felicitated Satyavathi before she took control of the engine, thus breaking yet another traditional barrier.
Satyavathi, who has now earned a place in the hall of fame of woman Loco pilots in Indian Railways, joined the Railways as assistant loco pilot in 1999 at Bengaluru. She 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 (Multi-Modal Transport Service) 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. Her biggest achievement is that she will be single-handedly managing and working on MMTS trains, without the help of any assistant loco pilot.
“I am honoured as the MMTS has now become the life line of the poor and middle-class people living in the suburban areas of twin cities,” Satyavathi said.
Driving loco trains, especially the long-distance passenger trains, is a tough job. The work timings are not fixed and it involves continuous travel. The Railways has a meticulous system of training its loco pilots and only suitable candidates, after rigorous training, are inducted into the service.
The Secunderabad division of the SCR has four more women assistant loco pilots being groomed to be loco pilots in future.