Tian Guiying, the first female train driver after the founding of the People's Republic of China, is at work. [China Women's News]
Recalling the moment when the train set in motion 69 years ago, Tian Guiying, 89 years old, stared into the distance. The unforgettable moment came back to her mind again, filling her with great pride.
Tian will always remember the moment the train departed Dalian City, heading to Lvshun City, in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, on March 3, 1950. It was her first time to drive a train, and she was only 20 at that time.
"I am so grateful to the Communist Party of China. It was the Party that changed me from a girl from an impoverished family into a train driver, and let me make my contributions to the country just like men do," Tian said.
Tian was born in Lvda (now Dalian), Liaoning Province, in 1930. In 1949, she signed up for the first female-train-driver courses, and succeeded through extremely hard work. In 1950, she was awarded the title of National Model Worker.
In those days when many people thought only men could drive locomotives, Tian and eight other women worked hard and succeeded in becoming the country's first group of female train drivers in just eight months and 20 days.
To become an official diesel locomotive driver in such a short time is never an easy task, as it usually takes years of training according to normal procedures.
"As long as we are willing to endure difficulties and work hard enough, women can make it," Tian believes.
Even now, 69 years later, Tian still clearly remembers every detail in the difficult learning process in hot June.
Because of the outstanding performance, Tian was appointed as the chief driver, and her charter of nine women was named the March 8th Train Charter by the Ministry of Railways.
From March 8 to the end of August in 1950, Tian's female charter set a record of safely driving more than 30,000 kilometers and reducing coal consumption by 51.76 tons in less than four months.
"When my mother was on the first train I drove, she said she never thought her daughter could become a train driver and do things that many men could not," recalled Tian.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)