MUMBAI: When the Deccan Queen, the Mumbai-Pune intercity, pulls into CST on Tuesday, it will be a cause for celebrating womanhood. That’s because, for the first time, a woman will be behind its wheel . Surekha Yadav, Asia’s first motorwoman who is today India’s first mail driver too, will pilot the express. She will take the wheel at the behest of the Mumbai-Pune Railway Pravasi Sangh, considering that March 8 is International Women’s Day. And, Deccan Queen is considered Central Railway’s most prestigious train.TOI caught up with an excited Yadav on Monday as the intercity express was readying to leave Mumbai so that the 46-year-old could ferry it back from Pune the next morning.“It was my dream to drive the Deccan Queen—a train with a woman’s name—and it will come true tomorrow. I am proud Indian Railways gave me such an opportunity. I was also very happy when I drove women’s special trains in the past.”As she scurried about to see all was well before driving off, she stopped to chat with mediapersons . “I don’t find the job difficult – just balancing my responsibilities . Women are not incapable. However, I adjusted. The cooperation from my family , seniors and colleagues was also a huge boost in my 22-yearlong career,” she said.
Yadav started her career as an assistant diver in 1989 and worked her way up to become a goods driver in 1996, and then a motorwoman in 2000. Last year, she graduated to a Ghat driver. Since 10 months now, she has served as mail driver.Yadav is expected to bring the Deccan Queen to CST at the scheduled 10:25 am.She is amongst 10 women who will be felicitated at the CR function. Others include three goods drivers from Nagpur, Mumtaz Kazi (first diesel/electric loco pilot), Mamta Kulkarni (assistant station manager), Sudha Singh (Asian Games gold medalist), Priyanka Patil (Marathon winner), Geeta Amrish (technician) and Yashodha Bhagyanathan (track woman) – TOI