Surekha Yadav, 57, who recently became the first woman to operate the newly introduced semi-high-speed Vande Bharat Express train has been a trailblazer in many ways.

Yadav, who piloted the semi-high-speed train between Solapur station and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai Monday,

has broken the proverbial glass ceiling a number of times. She earned the distinction of becoming India’s first woman train driver in 1988.

She also became the first loco pilot of the ‘Ladies Special’ local train for Central Railways in 2000.

She went on to become the first woman loco pilot of the CST to Pune Deccan Queen train, which navigates through the Western Ghats.

In 2021, Yadav also led the first all-women-staffed Mumbai-Lucknow Special train on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Born to Sonabai and Ramchandra Bhosale, she did her basic education in Satara before completing her Diploma in Electrical Engineering from the Government Polytechnic College at Karad.

She cracked the Railway Recruitment Board exam in the mid-80s and joined the Central Railway as a trainee assistant driver in 1986.

In 2010, she was designated as a Ghat driver who is expected to manoeuvre trains through treacherous mountain ranges.

She also did a stint as an instructor at Driver’s Training Centre (DTC) in Kalyan.