Ensuring passengers reach their destinations in the safest, most pleasant, and effortless way is the personal mantra of Keolis Downer train driver, Kuntal Langrana.
“It makes a difference to the lives of people and the smiles you bring to their faces once they have reached their destination on time makes it all worthwhile,” Kuntal says.
While relatively new to the rail industry, Kuntal’s career includes close to 18 years working in aviation in India, the United States and Australia, embedding a strong commitment to safety and customer service.
“The airline industry is very volatile, and I was looking for a role within the transport industry which would provide stability. It’s been a long and interesting journey.”
Kuntal secured her first role driving trams in 2020, moving to trains in 2021, after tenaciously working through the interview process and at each stage proactively asking the human resources person involved where she could improve in future applications. After taking on feedback, and intensive practice, Kuntal was successful on her third attempt and wants to help others navigate the experience.
“I was very self-motivated and had to work through the entire process. Now when people approach me about entering the industry, I guide them through the application steps. It’s not an easy industry to get into but you must believe in yourself.”
Once successful Keolis Downer provided extensive training for nine months which Kuntal described as ‘amazing and excellent’, as well as ongoing.
“I am still learning every day. Different drivers experience different things, and we learn from each other.
“People often say train driving must be a monotonous job, but they don’t realise the many aspects of the role from working with people and signals and the fact that the safety of hundreds of passengers lies with you,” she says.
“I am a prime example that I didn’t know train driving was a career available to me. In the days I was growing up in India, it wasn’t something I saw. When I came to Australia and observed women drivers it was an eye opener and I thought ‘this could be your next career’.
“It was a mindset change and my family were surprised that it was a career option for me. Now my nieces and nephews look up to me and say ‘my Aunt is a train driver and we would like to become one too’.
“What I like about my job is that it is different, interesting, and challenging. Because you work in shifts, you can balance your homelife and plan around your roster because it is provided 15 days in advance.
“Every day is different because of the passengers, and I feel happy because my job allows me to give back to the community. It’s a part of public service.”