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Network Rail and Southeastern have collaborated in order to launch what is said to be the UK’s first passenger train service operated entirely by women. In order to mark International Women’s Day, a Southeastern service to Kent will depart from London during rush hour on 6 March 2020, staffed by a female driver and conductor, with female Network Rail signallers staffing the route.
The journey will mark the first time that a commuter service is operated exclusively by female rail staff from start to finish – from the depot to the destination. In total, approximately 15 women will be involved in completing the train journey. The service will form one of three ‘Female Trains’ operating on 6 March 2020, hoping to attract more female recruits into a traditionally male-dominated industry.
Southeastern’s driver, Monika Kurek, will run the 19:42 from London Victoria to Faversham, supported by conductor, Rebecca Greenstreet. Twelve female members of Network Rail staff will then guide the train on its way out of the capital to its end destination in Kent.
Managing Director at Southeastern, David Statham, said: “We’re honoured to be playing our part in today’s ‘Female Train’. We have made considerable progress in attracting more women into the industry and we’re proud that 20 per cent of Southeastern’s employees are female. The fact today’s ‘Female Train’ is one of the first shows how much more the rail industry needs to do to and we will continue working with partners like Network Rail to achieve this.”
Additionally, Great Western Railway (GWR) will operate a female train from London Paddington to Bristol, whilst London North Eastern Railway (LNER) will run a ‘Flying Scotswoman’ from Edinburgh to Kings Cross.
The emphasis on female employees within the UK rail industry comes as Network Rail commits to increasing the number of women in the workforce by 50 per cent by 2024 – representing almost 4,000 new staff.
Loraine Martins, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, said: “This is about ensuring our organisation is as diverse as the communities we serve and valuing the contributions that everyone can make to our business. We will continue to work tirelessly to increase the proportion of women at Network Rail at all levels in our business, as well as developing the phenomenal talent that we already have.”
Chief Executive of Network Rail, Andrew Haines, concurred: “This is a brilliant celebration of women in rail. I hope it demonstrates to other women and girls that a rewarding role in our industry is a real prospect. We have an abundance of diverse and interesting jobs available and the users of the railway deserve the best of our talents. That must mean a much more diverse workforce.”
This article first appeared on www.globalrailwayreview.com
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