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Updated: October 22, 2011 10:34 IST

Young woman loco pilot has the ride of her life

Staff Reporter
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Priyanka N, the first woman loco pilot of Namma Metro, at the MG road Metro station in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: G.R.N Somashekar
Priyanka N, the first woman loco pilot of Namma Metro, at the MG road Metro station in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: G.R.N Somashekar

It is a rite of passage that most youngsters aspire to grow up to become a train driver. But young Priyanka N. had no such ambition. All she wanted was a well-paying job. And this 20-year-old did land one, as the first woman loco pilot of Namma Metro. To top it, she drove the inaugural train from M.G. Road to Byappanahalli on Thursday!

It was certainly an honour, she told The Hindu. “Though I knew it, I got the formal letter on Wednesday. I'm delirious with happiness!”

Dream come true

Ms. Priyanka, though barely out of her teens, had already driven the metro train for over 1,000 km. “I was probably chosen because of my performance. We were made to take examinations as well. This is a dream come true for me.” The job — and the assignment — is a big deal for a person like her who had not even travelled on a railway train until recently. “The first time I travelled by train was when I was sent to Delhi for training with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. I went through nearly six months of training by first learning on a simulator,” she said.

She had applied for a job with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation when she completed her diploma in electrical and electronics engineering from APS Polytechnic. “I applied after I learnt about electrical traction. Incidentally, our metro runs through electrical traction. I was selected in July last year.”

Butterflies

Though she is already a veteran as a loco pilot thanks to all those test runs, she had butterflies in her stomach in the run-up to the inauguration, daunted as she was by the prospect of hauling 1,000 passengers.

Ms. Priyanka, who lives on Kanakapura Road, takes a bus to her workplace. It will be a while when she can finally take Namma Metro to the Byappanahalli depot where she starts her day.

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