Posted 8th March 2021 | 2 Comments

More trains are set to be driven by women

A TRAINEE driver on Avanti West Coast trainee driver is hoping her positive experience in the railway industry will encourage other women to pursue a similar career.

Chloe McKinlay, 25, joined the Avanti West Coast Driver Training scheme in August 2020, and when qualified will join her dad Kevin to become the first father/daughter driving duo for Avanti.

Until the last few decades being a train driver was seen as a job only for men, but a third of the new recruits on Chloe’s course are female.

Chloe, from Liverpool, is hoping her involvement in the scheme and events like International Women’s Day will inspire others to challenge long held stereotypes around gender and career choice.

She said: ‘Even though my dad is a driver, growing up, never once did I think driving was an option for me. Only men drive trains I thought. As a degree apprentice, I spent some time working with the Driver Team and I thought why not?

‘The company have been incredibly supportive, and that’s given me the confidence to “go for it”. And on International Women’s Day that’s the message I’d like to pass on to other women. Don’t be afraid to challenge gender stereotypes.’

Avanti West Coast head of drivers Paul Makepeace said: ‘We, like many other train operators face a potential skills shortage with a large number of our drivers expected to retire in the coming few years. The industry needs to identify and develop the train drivers of the future, and we’re hoping that Chloe’s story will encourage more women to seriously consider it as a realistic and achievable career to pursue.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Steve, Milton Keynes

    I'm pleased that efforts are being made to encourage more women to apply for driver roles. My driver training group was 25% women, but I think that's not always the case.

    It is a long challenging process to get recruited (and the training too!) so if you are interested, research the role thoroughly, and be prepared for a lot of tests and multiple interviews. There is a wealth of info online at

    Good luck to those going through the process!

  • James Miller, Hackney

    I was on a Bakerloo Line train talking to an Overground driver about the new trains.

    Sitting with us was a young lady probably in her early twenties, who suddenly asked the driver, if she could apply to become a train driver. She explained that she had a History degree and was stuck in a boring job. The driver then proceeded to give her the pros and cons of the job in a positive way.

    I had to leave at that point, so I don't know if she applied. But the driver was certainly keen to have a more representative workforce.