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Look who're at the controls of this Tori train

Female loco pilots & railway staff take passengers on a 111km ride

FAIR DRIVE: Dipali and Rosy in the pilot's cabin of Ranchi-Tori Passenger on Thursday. (Manob Chowdhary)
 

Ranchi: The Ranchi-Tori Passenger chugged out of the capital station with Dipali Amit and Rosy Sinha at the helm on Thursday. The two loco pilots, along with 11 other women members of staff of Ranchi railway division, marked International Women's Day with honesty and efficiency.

The South Eastern Railway Women's Welfare Organisation also gifted a sanitary napkin vending machine to passengers. Installed in the second-class waiting room of the station, the machine dispenses two napkins for a token Rs 5.

"We wanted to make the day special for our female employees who are both hardworking and competent. Ranchi division has six female loco pilots. Today, two of them - Dipali and Rosy - drove the Ranchi-Tori Passenger on its 111km journey. Pointsman Shakuntala Devi flagged off the train," said senior divisional commercial manager of Ranchi Manas Ranjan Acharya.

Acharya maintained that they planned to make the experiment a regular drill in the future. "Female loco pilots occasionally operate both short- and long-route trains. But, if we get adequate manpower, we can surely make it a daily routine," he said.

The passenger train was manned by Sabita Bela Toppo as guard and Urshila Toppo, Mishira Soren, Edlin Kerketta, Dipti Kacchap and Meera Yadav as TTEs, besides Kavita Kumari, Lidia Tirki, Baby Xalxo and Priya Bara from the Railway Protection Force.

Since the train is a lifeline for daily passengers, all 14 coaches including one for women remained crowded passengers. One coach can accommodate around 80 passengers.

The train stopped at several halts and stations like Argora, Piska, Itki, Tangarbasuli, Narkopi, Nagjua, Akashi, Irgaon, Lohardaga and Barkichanpi before reaching Tori in Latehar district, covering the distance in two hours and 50 minutes.

"Dipali has been in service for seven years whereas Rosy joined around four years ago. Both operate the Ranchi-Tori Passenger," said public relations officer of Ranchi division Kalavanti Singh, adding that this 29.5km Lohardaga-Tori rail link became operational in March last year.

Rosy sounded elated after the long drive. "For the first time in my career, the railway has shown great confidence in its female employees. I had a different experience altogether. It felt great," she said.

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