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IWD- Britain’s Frist all-female-operated passenger train March 6, 2020

Category: Women, Network Rail, Gender Balance, International Women’s Day, women day, women in transport, women in engineering

Network Rail and train operator Southeastern joined forces today (March 6) to launch Britain’s first ever passenger service run entirely by women – on a banner day for the rail industry.

Marking International Women’s Day, a rush hour Southeastern service will leave London for Kent staffed by a female driver and conductor, while female Network Rail signallers will staff the route.

It’s the first time an all-female team has operated a commuter service from depot to destination. About 15 women will take part in running the 07:42 from London Victoria to Faversham, driven by Southeastern’s Monika Kurek.

The service is one of three all-female trains today as the rail industry seeks to attract more women into a male-dominated industry.

The milestone comes two months after Network Rail and Southeastern partnered on an all-female special service from London Victoria to Gillingham.

Students and a cross-section of employees – from apprentices to drivers and engineers – were invited onto the train, which was closed to the paying public. The film above shows highlights of the January service run by Network Rail and Southeastern for employees and school children.

Such a great career to get into.” – Susie Hamlin, local operations manager

“We need women in those roles.” – Rhian Lane, geotechnical asset engineer

“You do make a real difference to people's lives.” – Sally Rose, finance director

“This is the future.” – Loraine Martins, director of Diversity and Inclusion

Industry effort

Separately today, Great Western Railway will run a female train from London Paddington to Bristol, while London North Eastern Railway will run a ‘Flying Scotswoman’ from Edinburgh to London King’s Cross.

The push comes as Network Rail commits to increasing the number of women in the workforce by 50% by 2024 – equivalent to almost 4,000 new female staff.

We and Southeastern invited school pupils onto the special train to learn about careers

Meanwhile, Southeastern today reveals that 20% of its workforce are now women following a concerted campaign to raise the profile of the industry – leaving the group on track to hit its target of 21% by 2021.

Did you know? In the 1970s, Karen Harrison became British Rail’s first female driver.


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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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