As we look to celebrate International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, we’ve been chatting to a few of the incredible women who work at ScotRail.
In the past, the railway was very much deemed a ‘man’s world’ but thankfully this has changed.
Lynsey McCabe, Senior Fleet Engineer
Image copyright: John Devlin / The Scotsman
Lynsey McCabe joined ScotRail back in 2010 on a Rail Engineering Graduate scheme, where she’s since worked her way up to Senior Fleet Engineer on our electric fleets. “As an Engineer, I’ve always enjoyed problem solving. I’d felt that the industry I was previously in was too removed from the actual engineering (more computer based) and having the opportunity to get some “hands-on” experience within the Railway was appealing.”
As part of the engineering team, Lynsey has been involved in a lot of fantastic projects, but one of her proudest achievements was “being part of a team that delivered the largest number of fleet-wide technology and accessibility improvements to our existing legacy fleets (CCTV, WiFi, wheelchair accessible spaces, universal access toilets, introduction of cycle areas).” All of these have made such a big improvement to passenger comfort on board.
Fiona Campbell, Regional Customer Operations Manager North
Fiona started her railway career in the Telephone Enquiry Bureau at Inverness in the days before the internet. She has since worked her way up, enjoying a varied career path in ScotRail, before settling back in the north in her current role.
The variety of roles has given her some fantastic opportunities including getting to have a giggle with the then Prince Charles at Dunrobin Castle!
Looking to the future, Fiona hopes her work has an impact, “I would like to leave a legacy within customer operations. I am passionate about the north, what we have to offer now and what we can offer in the future with station redevelopment masterplans (Inverness/Perth), electrification of the central belt to Aberdeen, introduction of new trains - hydrogen-powered (or other non-diesel) trains on rural routes. It’s an exciting time to be in the rail industry!”
Pamela Young, Area Manager for Fife, Lothians and Borders
Pamela was looking for a “wee job” to tide her over until she started college when she applied to ScotRail as a typist ... 33 years later, she’s still here.
Her advice for other women looking for a role in the railway is to go for it! “Just now woman have more opportunities than ever to do what they want. If I’m honest I’m pretty jealous that I didn’t have that leadership and support when I first joined the railway.”
During her long career, Pamela’s had many fantastic moments that she’s proud of, “I could name numerous occasions where I have been proud to lead events and represent ScotRail, from Open Golf at St Andrews to leading on the Queens Funeral event at Edinburgh last year.
"But one of the most fun and enjoyable, although pretty hard work, was leading on the Santa Express trains that we ran during December 2021. All the hard work and effort was made worthwhile to see all the kids faces when Santa came on board, sang with them and handed out presents. It was something I will never forget.”
Ursula Doherty, Head of Financial Planning
Like a lot of the other women we’ve chatted to, Ursula never intended on having a long career on the railway. But thanks to supportive line managers and colleagues, she found a career that she loves. “I joined the railway in an administration role with no plans for a long term career in the industry. I had graduated University with a BA (Hons) in English and History, and my plan was to return and complete a Masters degree. However, I had extremely supportive line managers and colleagues who encouraged me to consider a career in the railway, and, showed me the career paths that were open to me.”
“The railway industry offers so many different careers for women and I would advise not to limit themselves to disciplines women would traditionally gravitate to. The industry has so many varied career paths that you can consider.”
Donna Sim, Service Resilience Manager
The railway really does have a career path for everyone, regardless of your background. Donna was fresh out of university having studied Criminology when she applied for a CCTV operator position at Paisley Customer Service Centre. “Not really related to my Criminology studies, but I thought I would give it a go until my ‘real job’ came along. Little did I know that this would be my ‘real job’, as I’m still here 12 years later! My job in CCTV, which I absolutely loved, kept me in the railway, and opened my eyes to the wide range of opportunities available to me.”
“My advice to another woman looking to embark or progress a career in the railway, would be to go for it. The world has changed dramatically over recent years, and so too has the railway, from hybrid working to family friendly working, there’s no longer a choice to be made between a successful career or a family life. You can absolutely have both!”
Claire Dickie, Head of Retail
For Claire, a six-month placement was the starting point to her career … 29 years ago. “I stayed on and worked part-time until I finished my degree and I’ve been here ever since.”
Claire has played an integral part to moving our ticketing forward and that’s up there in her proudest achievements, “I am proud to have introduced barcode digital ticketing, also known as mTickets, to ScotRail. In 18 months, we have gone from zero to 28% of passenger journeys made on barcode tickets, which just shows it was the right thing to do.”
For others looking to join the railway, she would always encourage women to go for it, “we really need a variety of voices and perspectives to improve what we do.”