Thiruvananthapuram: It is a gang of 18 super women. They literally work in a pit the length of a train in the forlorn yards of the sprawling Thiruvananthapuram Central Station.
Their task is to ensure that the hinges, hems and and screws of the carriages and wagons are in place for a long haul. And, they have been proving it time and again that this monopoly job of men are a thing of the past.
As the 'super women' complete an year on the job, they have been recommended for a national award of the Railways.
A typical day
The Vanchinad Express pulls in to the station at 11 am. The work pit is pitch dark as the train stops over it. The women, in helmets and boots, enter the pit under the train and begin their work, which goes on for hours. Their work station is 'too hot' for the groundlings to handle as the temperature soars due to the heat from the wagons.
The women take care of all four rakes of Vanchinad Express. They perform tasks like replacing parts dislocated during a journey and ensures standard checks.
The team emerges from the pit only by 5pm. The decision to form the all-woman force was taken an year ago when the number of women went up at the Carriage and Wagon section. The 18 chosen were given charge of the four trains that run as Vanchinad Express.
Junior Engineer Sreekala heads the team which comprises of a senior technician, nine technicians, and eight helpers.