Woman Welder at Parel Workshop: A snapshot


The Central Railway’s Loco Workshop in Parel can be stated as the trailblazer of workshops in Indian Railways. It had been delineated in the vicinity of a small town of Parel which is in the heart of Mumbai city. It was established in the year 1879 by M/s GIP Railway which can be further mentioned as the first of its kind for the maintenance of Steam Locos which later was transformed into a Loco POH Workshop of Central Railway.
The phasing out of Steam Loco traction and the subsequent introduction of Diesel Locomotives in Central Railway demanded a diversification in the Loco Workshop activities. Thus, the workshop started to take up activities of Periodic Overhauling (POH) of Diesel Electric Locomotives (1974), POH and MLR of 140T Cranes for ARTs (1997), Corrosion repair of Coaches (2004) and then Mid-Life Rehabilitation of Coaches (2007) in phased manner.
Today, Loco Workshop is well equipped to meet the major portion of the POH requirement of Central Railways, Western Railway and West Central Railway on the above said rolling stocks. In addition to that, Railway Directives stated that distinctive element of diesel and coach components such as bio-diesel has also been taken into the consideration.  These processes are being realized in Loco Workshop through 30 or more processes units called shop / departments.
The top management hierarchies of Loco Workshop comprise of the Chief Workshop Manager (CWM), who is the Occupier and Chief Executive Officer, a team of Deputy Officers and other Assistant Officers to assist the management in day-to-day work. The welders and other staffs have been trained and deeply motivated to indulge themselves to work effectively. One such example is Mrs. Savita Subash Chaughule who has always been the epitome of great workmanship and one who shares a great camaraderie with all her co-workers. She is the only female welder in this entire workshop, her journey so far, few takeaways and many more….

Savita Subhash Chaughule, Technician-III, Trade- Welder Shop- Welding Shop

“I had never thought that I would anytime be known as a ‘WELDER’, a segment majorly subjugated by males. And today, people recognize me as a female welder, an astonishing part for me to believe as well. Since 2015, I have been into the field of welding. Due to the postponement from Class D, I happened to undertake the segment of Welding diligently nevertheless; it was not my preference to become a Welder.  Initially, it had been a very arduous and challenging task, however; I started getting involved well as a welder gradually.  Thereafter, I started rejoicing in this field.  Mostly due to its subjugation by males, I felt so uneasy and excruciating at the early stages, however; I accepted it with a vigorous mindsetthat females are nowhere less than males in today’s world and why should I stay behind when it comes to welding?  Thus, I began welding and today I am proud to be known as a ‘Welder’.
Today, I can weld no less than any efficient male welder and I am the only female Welder in Central Railway, Parel Workshop. The credit all goes to the management for believing in me, for training and motivating me to accept the job. Besides welding, I am also into welding inspection. We, at Parel workshop have to carry out different types of welding activities, majorly the repairing of the coaches. The train coaches are brought to the workshop for   restoration, wherein a lot of welding activities are carried out. I specialize into Arc Welding. We make use of hot rods for welding with the help of advance machineries. Safety is the most crucial part when it comes to welding and we are largely focused into the same.

Althoughbeing a male dominated sector, I have always received a great support from the entire team. I aim to learn more about welding. Today, females are no less than males in almost all the sectors. I too have started developing myself in this field and I quite certainly want to weld as efficiently as the males do, and I have been already doing it and will be much better in the course of time. It’s all a matter of interest for a subject you choose, without which you cannot succeed.”
To know more about the workshop activities, WELDFAB TECH TIMES had a quick conversation with the Chief Workshop Manager. And here is what Mr. Mahesh Kumar, Chief Workshop Manager, Central Railway Loco Workshop, Parel, Mumbai have to say….

“Welding shop is one of the core shops of Loco Workshop. The main process of the shop is assembling and welding work of locomotives, coaches, 140 T break downs cranes, repairing work and profile cutting work. The main sections of welding shop are manufacturing section and Profile cutting section.
Manufacturing of ICF Coach Brake Beam Assembly, Flap Door Assembly, Head stock Assembly of BG and Profile Cutting of components required for coach POH, AC loco POH, ICF Bogie manufacturing are the major processes of General Welding shop. This involves the operations of Oxy-acetylene/LPG cutting of various components which are further required for Bogie manufacturing and Electric Arc and Gas welding of Bogie assembly.
Lately, Parel workshop has been recommended to get certification of ISO 3834-2:2005 (Quality requirements for fusion welding of metallic materials) as per International Standards both in workshops and at field installation sites. With ISO 3834-2:2005 certification, we can be at par with the international standards and upgrade our technical excellence. We aim to achieve this target very soon.
Besides, we are largely emphasizing on upgrading the skills of our welders in terms of work and safety aspects. We are basically categorizing our welders into A, B and C. Those who are the best welders are into the A category, and similarly the welders who are average are categorised  under C or D. Currently, we are focusing on the enhancement trainings for C and D categories. Bhopal has been categorized to possess one the largest workshop of railways.  Furthermore, we also have coach factories even in Chennai.  The cornerstone of Parel’s workshop is the maintenance of coaches and on the other hand workshop of Chennai produces new coaches They are known to be the coach manufacturers. We have four such similar factories in India; the first in Chennai, second in Kapurthala in Punjab, third in Vidarbha and the fourth in Varanasi. These institutes train our welders and upgrade their knowledge.
Welding requires specialized and skilled activity. Being a male dominated sector, we do not normally find any females into welding, however; I have come across many female welders with a great efficiency into welding. For an instance, in the Chennai workshop there are many female welders, but as compared to male, the figures are less. Usually, a female does not aim to be a welder because of the fear of dealing with fire. To overcome this challenge, there is a need of positive attitude. We largely encourage females in welding and one amongst them is Mrs. Savita. We feel proud to see Savita who has debuted into a profession as a welder and who has extraordinarily become one of the crucial welders of the workshop. She has proved with her exceptional efforts and there is no difference between a man and a woman even if it comes to welding.
When contacted, the CPRO of Central Railway, Mr. Sunil Udasi was beaming with pride.  He said this was perhaps the last of the few critical areas in Railways’ working which did not have women.  Mr. Udasi was delighted to see a woman make a mark in the area of welding which was hitherto considered a male bastion.  He went on to add that that the Railways have considered women as partners and have always encouraged women to play an active role and quoted the recent examples of ‘an all women Matunga Station’, women as Loco Pilots, Motorwomen, Ticket Checkers, RPF Personnel and as Artisans in the Railways’ for driving home the point of women empowerment.

Mr. Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Mumbai

Mr. Udasi appreciated the commitment, dedication and indomitable spirit of Ms. Savita Subash Chaughule in accepting the challenges that lay ahead and for counting herself as a key member of the Welding Team at the Parel Workshop.  He went on to add that the example of Ms. Savita would definitely help spur other women in general and the Railways in particular in taking up challenges, which are nothing but opportunities for showing ones mettle and move up the ladder to ultimate glory and success.