03rd Nov 2021   |   Glow & Lovely Careers   |     |  
3 min read

India’s First Woman loco Pilot - Kumkum Dongre

Women Achievers

We have always heard and believed that driving a train is a man’s job, isn’t it? It is pretty much a task! Very risky and challenging.  

But Kumkum has cleared that misunderstanding and has turned the tables. She has become India’s first woman loco pilot!

But this was not as easy as it sounds. Kumkum had to face challenges too. But she didn’t let it break her resolve.

‘Trains’ her childhood fascination…

While kids like Kumkum always dreamt of becoming a pilot, doctor, teacher, etc., young Kumkum dreamt of driving a train.

A daughter becoming a loco pilot is not what all parents would have accepted, but Kumkum’s parents were different…

Her father supported the decision that she had taken. And Kumkum did not disappoint him.  She completed her B.com and, side by side, took a two-year electrical course from Industrial Training Institute(ITI).

She was so determined that she was completing her education and working on her passion simultaneously. 

ITI was a gateway for her to appear for the railway entrance exams. She studied hard and applied for the Assistant Loco pilot post(ALP). Along with that, she completed her post-graduation in social sciences.

When she reached the exam centre, she saw that she was one of the seven women amongst thousands of male entrants.

People were staring at her and the other six girls at the exam centre as if they didn’t belong to this profession. By seeing this, anyone would be nervous. But Kumkum did not let this nervousness impact her focus. She passed her exam successfully and was sent to Mumbai for further training.

She finally got her dream job at the Vasai lobby in Mumbai as the Assistant Loco Pilot on a goods train. She then, with her excellent skills, went on to become a Loco Pilot too! On 5th January 2021, an all-woman crew goods train drove from Vasai road to Vadodra. 

Along with Kumkum, Udita Verma(assistant loco pilot), Akanksha Rai(Goods guard) were also a part of the crew. It’s so heart filling that women are breaking the glass ceilings and smashing stereotypes!   

Being the first woman to lead a train, she was made fun of at the exam centre, and her colleagues too didn’t trust her and showed their male dominance.

Time and again, Kumkum had to prove that she was worthy of this job. To prove her talent, she used to volunteer under challenging situations in the train journeys. She also had to get down from the train in the middle of the night to check the tires when it had halted in a jungle.

But she did not let such challenges scare her. 

This is not the end!

Kumkum is not going to settle on just being a loco pilot of a goods train. She dreams of driving high-speed trains like Rajdhani Express, Duranto, etc. She also wants to train other girls who aspire to become loco pilots. Inspired by Kumkum’s journey, there are now 33-woman assistant loco pilots in training in the Mumbai region alone.  

If you want to shine like Kumkum and do something extraordinary for your future, Glow and Lovely Careers have many options! Right from helping you choose the right career option to open doors to job opportunities, online courses,   scholarship career guidance, it has it all!