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First all-women crews run goods train from Vasai Road to Vadodara

The goods train was operated by a three-member team of Kumkum Dongre, Udita Verma and Akansha Rai
|| Rhythima Agrawal

Shattering yet another glass ceiling, an all-women crew piloted a goods train from Vasai Road in Maharashtra’s Palghar to Gujarat’s Vadodara on Tuesday, Western Railway (WR) said on Wednesday.

“WR has broken yet another stereotype that has left an indomitable impression in the annals of history. The women have set a glaring example that no job is beyond the capacity of women to perform and excel,” Western Railway General Manager Alok Kansal said. The Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal, had also taken to the micro-blogging site to praise the initiative.  The fully loaded goods train carrying a cargo of 3,686 tonnes in 43 closed wagons, departed from Vasai Road at 11.30 a.m. and reached Vadodara after 6 hours, running at an average speed of around 60 kmph.

A team of three young women team, comprising of Loco Pilot Kumkum S. Dongre, Assistant Loco Pilot Udita Verma, and Goods Guard Akanksha Ray, operated it. At the helm of it all was an MBA graduate from Indore named Akansha Rai, who is the Goods guard. She joined Mumbai’s Central division under Western Railway in this position in 2019. Along with her, Kumkum Suraj Dongre is Loco Pilot who joined the Railways in 2013 as an Assistant Loco Pilot.  Udita Verma is also on the crew as the Assistant Loco Pilot. Joining this position in 2016, she became the senior assistant in 2019.

“This was a first of its kind for WR with an all-female crew manning a goods train. Due to the grueling nature of the job of Guards & Loco pilots which also involves travelling long distances, very few women come forward to join these posts,” said WR Chief Spokesperson Sumit Thakur. The entire railway department lauded the initiative and felicitated the three women for their unprecedented achievement.

Thakur said this would prove to be a game-changer and inspire other women to take up such daunting jobs in the Indian Railways, that were considered ideal for males.

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