International Women's Day: Leeds train driver's daughter wants to follow in mum's footsteps

The daughter of a Leeds train driver has said she wants to follow in her mum's footsteps when she grows up.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 6:00 am

Leeds-based train driver Becky Brown has been driving trains for almost 10 years, often doing the east coast mainline route between Leeds and London.

And despite London North Eastern Railway (LNER) research showing only one per cent of women said they wanted to be a train driver when they were young, Becky's daughter, eight-year-old Maisie, wants to buck the trend, just like her mum.

Becky said: “Driving a train is an interesting job, although I do get surprised looks when people ask me what I do for a living and when people see a woman driving the train as it pulls into the platform.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Becky Brown and her daughter Maisie (photo: Nigel Roddis/PA)

“I love hearing from my daughter that she too wants to be a driver, as it’s such a unique career path.

"It allows me to be flexible and spend more time with my family than I might do in a 9-5 role.”

LNER, which is operated by the Department for Transport, is now pledging to make a change to get more women like Becky and her daughter pursuing a career in the rail industry, particularly train driver roles.

Their research showed that while only one per cent of women said they had wanted to be a train driver when they were young, 21 per cent wanted to be famous, and 23 per cent wanted to be a teacher.

Becky Brown and her daughter Maisie (photo: Nigel Roddis/PA).

The research also showed a clear divide in roles that were stereotypically male and female when it came to the women's aspirations, with 18 per cent wanting to be a nurse or a vet, compared to two per cent considering a career as a mechanic or less than one per cent as a plumber.

The number of women applying to LNER for driver roles has more than doubled in three years, increasing from just seven per cent of 2017 applications to 17 per cent in 2020.

The operator is encouraging more women to consider train driver roles in the future, with a goal of 40 per cent of all driver applications coming from women by 2025.

But LNER’s people director Karen Lewis said that more needed to be done to promote such careers to women.

“The rail industry needs to do more to encourage women to consider a career in the sector,” Ms Lewis said.

“Our research found that for women of working age, less than a third had considered a career path as a train driver, with 14 per cent of those considering it a male dominated industry and 27 per cent just not knowing much about it.

“It’s proof that the rail industry needs to do more to show women the fantastic career opportunities it can hold, across an extremely broad range of roles, skills and professions.

“We’re pleased to see an increasing number of applications each year from women who are interested in pursuing careers as a train driver, and we’re looking to speak to women who have

never considered the industry before and encourage them to learn more.”

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United, With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.