Woman engineer steers 'metro' dream

Woman engineer steers 'metro' dream

Woman engineer steers 'metro' dream

All it took was a firm tug of the levers to start the train, but the air of excitement caused by thronging passengers in the station did cause mild flutter for A Preeti.

The 28-year-old student of Diploma in Engineering, however, did not allow nerves to come in the way of realising the long time dream of becoming a loco pilot as she steered the inaugural Chennai Metro train safely to its destination.

Flanked by two Metro Rail officials, Preeti walked up to the driver’s cabin and seemed visibly excited. She pulled the electric train out by noon.

“She was working in a local company and sent her resume to the Chennai Metro. She is the first woman to be selected for the job,” Preeti’s father said, adding that Preeti went through training in Chennai and Delhi for the job and it was good to see her dream come true.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha flagged off the inaugural train, signalling the beginning of the Chennai Metro Rail Project (CMRP) operations six years after the foundation stone was laid.

The first phase of the project has come up at a cost of Rs 14,600 crore and would cover 45 kilometres. For the first time in the country, CMRP rails would operate in ballast-less rails.

"All the underground services were constructed before laying the ballast-less track, which will be maintenance-free and will ensure clean environment", Chief General Manager (CGM) Metro Rail operations T Archunan said.

Designed half underground and half elevated, one CMRP corridor runs from Washermanpet in north Chennai to the Airport, while the other runs from Chennai Central to St Thomas Mount.

After various tests and clearances, the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety, Bengaluru, gave the final nod for the project only in May. Inauguration of the rail services had to wait for several weeks since the election model code of conduct was in place for the Assembly by-poll at R K Nagar.

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