All-women trains celebrate International Women’s Day

Southeastern and Network Rail joined forces to run an all-female train service.

To celebrate International Women’s Day (actually on Sunday 8 March 2020), three special all-women trains ran on the UK network on Friday 6 March.

Network Rail and Southeastern joined forces to launch their first ever passenger service run entirely by women. The 07:42 out of London Victoria to Faversham was despatched by women, crewed by women and followed a route signalled by women.

Southeastern driver Monika Kurek was at the controls when the train left Victoria, supported by conductor Rebecca Greenstreet and Network Rail’s signalling staff who guided the train on its way.

Three trains were crewed exclusively by women for International Women’s Day.

The full crew included:

Southeastern: driver, Monika Kurek; conductor, Rebecca Greenstreet; dispatcher at Victoria, Leanne Gibbs; dispatcher at Bromley, Jan Webb; dispatcher at Faversham, Sian Wickenden.

Network Rail staff at Victoria Signal Box: Louise Crowe, Beth Simpson, Laura Warren, Becki White, Becky Kempar, Elison Banan, Jess Connally. At East Kent Signal Centre: Sam Walford, Roxy Trent and Geraldine Hanson.

Many railway industry figures were on the train and expressed their pleasure in messages to the passengers and in this video:

On the East Coast main line out of King’s Cross, LNER rebranded its most iconic service – the ‘Flying Scotsman’ – as the ‘Flying Scotswoman’. The name will be retained for the month of March.

Staffed entirely by women, the special service displayed a special International Women’s Day livery and hosted a range of women from a variety of organisations in the rail industry as well as from LNER.

The ‘Flying Scotswoman’ with LNER’s Suzanne Donnelly, Kate McFerran, Claire Ansley and Karen Lewis.

LNER’s people director Karen Lewis said the rail industry needs to work harder to promote itself to women, who are missing out on a rich source of career opportunities.

“There is a clear need for the industry to work together to demonstrate the unique opportunities on offer with a career in rail, and by doing so to help drive an increase in the number of women in the workplace,” she said.

“LNER bucks the trend with women making up 42 per cent of our workforce, compared to an industry average of 16 per cent. Our diverse workforce is something we’re extremely proud of at LNER and we’re working hard to inspire and attract even more talented women to join the industry.

“LNER has many examples of women who have remained in the business and progressed their careers due to having the right amount of support to do things like further their education or have families. Rail offers competitive salaries and a multitude of opportunities to progress careers, which we know are important factors for women in the working world of 2020.”

LNER head of engineering Linda Wain.

International Women’s Day was also marked by GWR, which ran an all-women train from London Paddington to Cardiff.

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