The Last Word

17.03.16

Women in community rail – on track to change

Source: RTM Feb/Mar 16

Sally Buttifant, Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership Officer, explains how a Women in Community Rail group could be a positive way of promoting community rail, sharing good practice and reaching out to young people.

Community rail is about innovation, creativity and generally being at the forefront of good practice. But in terms of promoting gender, diversity and community rail it has appeared that we were on the slow train – you know the one – the train that stops at every station and takes an age to reach the destination. 

Things started to change in 2015. Women in Rail (WR) were putting out regular thought-provoking articles about gender balance, women in the rail world and the need to attract younger people, and particularly women, into scientific, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. Excellent! It is good to have a group highlighting women and the rail world, promoting dialogue and highlighting some of the issues facing the industry today. However, WR didn’t seem to be attracting community rail audiences and that isn’t really a surprise. Hands up if you know about community rail and can explain what it entails? 

A sister group to WR suddenly seemed to make a lot of sense, and a Women in Community Rail (WiCR) group could be a very positive way of promoting community rail, sharing good practice  and reaching out to young people. 

Over the last few months a core group have been talking, emailing and gauging support from colleagues with any community rail remit. This process has been surprising, challenging and positive. There is a lot of positive support for a community rail group, but there has been some anxiety around any group that appears to be just for women (WiCR is open to anyone who supports its aims) and research undertaken shows that there is a role for the group reaching out to champion community rail and diversity opportunities. 

A steering group has been set up with representation from five train operators (Virgin Trains, Northern Rail, TransPennine Express, Great Western Railway and Merseyrail), two community rail partnerships, two station friends of groups, the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP), and transport authorities: Merseytravel and Transport for Greater Manchester. 

The group aims to: 

  • Become recognised as a strategic player across the rail industry and an important consultee
  • Share knowledge and expertise to encourage gender balance
  • Create a mentoring/support network for all colleagues throughout the industry
  • Increase inclusivity within the community rail world
  • Encourage younger people to get involved in the community rail world
  • Share best practice across the wider industry and business sector
  • Encourage innovation and a can do attitude 

We think there is work to be done – promoting community rail as a career and encouraging volunteers and colleagues to think about diversity and gender balance. Community rail is about teamwork and the best teams are made up of those with different skills and talents from both genders. WiCR is an inclusive group, very keen to attract male as well as female members and to demonstrate the benefits of working together. 

WiCR is also pleased to announce that Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail (and new MD for Arriva Rail North from 1 April), is the first ambassador for the group, supporting and promoting the group and its aims.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >