A ‘Flying Scotswoman’ train with an all-female crew including four sisters has travelled from Edinburgh to London to mark International Women’s Day.
The LNER Flying Scotsman service is being re-branded for the month of March in the hope of encouraging more women to consider a career in the rail industry.
Female platform staff greeted passengers at Edinburgh Waverley, where the train set off at 5.40am on Friday bound for Newcastle and London King’s Cross.
Kelly Measures, who has been a train driver for 11 years, said it was a “proud moment” being on board the service with her three sisters, all from Peterborough, who also work in the rail industry like their father did.
Ms Measures, 32, said: “I’m a driver, which is predominantly male-oriented, but there’s more and more women coming through.
“There’s not as much difference as there used to be.”
She was with Toni Measures, an on-board chef, and their half sisters Jamie Tyrell, who works as a loyalty executive, and Ellie Tyrell, a marketing apprentice.
Kelly Measures said: “Our dad worked for the company in the engineering department and I just happened to get a part-time job on the railway.
“I think with the both of us working here, and everybody else coming through and seeing the benefits that we get – the free travel, the pay, and the job security – they’ve all seen that, and I think it has inspired them (the other sisters) to join as well, in the roles that they enjoy.”
Ellie Tyrell, 21, said: “We’ve joined with all different skill sets.
“It doesn’t matter where you’ve come from, or what you’ve been doing before, there’s always a role in the rail industry for you.”
Some 42% of LNER employees are women, but according to a poll of 890 women commissioned by the company, 85% of working-age women in the UK have not considered a career in rail.
People director Karen Lewis said being on board the all-female staffed service was “fantastic,” but the industry needs to work harder to attract women.
Ms Lewis, 50, said: “What we’re trying to do is celebrate all the wonderful roles women can have in the rail industry.
“At LNER, we’re trying to get women to change their perceptions of the rail industry.”
The Flying Scotswoman service was one of three passenger trains entirely run by female staff on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.
Southeastern and Great Western Railway also operated services.