For the first time in the history of Southern Railway a woman has been posted as motorcar driver of an EMU. C.V.Thilagavathi operates EMU services in the Chennai suburban network, except on Chennai Beach – Tambaram section.

She joined as Assistant Driver in the Indian Railways in 1995. According to the 37-year-old Thilagavathi, she did not know that the job would involve operation of locomotives when she applied for the post of diesel assistant. Only after the selection, she came to know that she had to assist loco drivers in operating mail and express trains. Though she was little bit hesitant, it was her father who asked her to take up the post as it would be a challenging one.

After working as assistant driver for four years in long distance mail and express trains in Bhopal, Central Railway, she was transferred to Southern Railway in 1999. Thilagavathi who was posted in Chennai Division was soon promoted as the main driver of goods trains. Subsequently, she was given two months training in the working of EMU services and one month course in general rules of suburban operation.

December 16, 2009, was a memorable day for Thilagavathi as on that day she was asked to operate the Moore Market Complex – Tiruvallur EMU service. “I was not at all nervous when I was asked to operate the EMU for the first time. I operated the service with ease and reached the destination in time.”

Talking to The Hindu, Ms.Thilagavathi said “It is just like any other job and my colleagues cooperate with me like in other professions.” Asked about the reaction of passengers when they saw her in the motor cabin, she said some looked at her with surprise. Some women commuters shook hands with her after she got down from the car. A senior citizen commented that he was happy to see a woman driving an EMU and congratulated her for taking up the job.

If everything goes on well, Ms. Thilagavathi will get promotion as mail and express loco driver.