Avanti West Coast IWD Control Team 1

All-female team lead Avanti West Coast rail operations for International Women’s Day

Avanti West Coast's Control department staffed by women to mark International Women's Day.

  • Avanti West Coast’s Control operations staffed by all-female team for IWD
  • Women with over 100 years’ service between them work together on shift
  • Staff help #BreakTheBias by championing career opportunities in rail industry

An all-female team will staff Avanti West Coast’s Control department as part of activities to mark International Women’s Day.  

Staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Control will be run by a team of seven women today (8 March), who collectively have over 100 years of service between them.

Filling roles including Duty Control Manager, Information Controller, and Route Controller, the women will be responsible for the behind-the-scenes operation, which leads on the day-to-day running of Avanti West Coast services to keep the railway functioning as well as customers moving.  

Designed to inspire the next generation and support the #BreakTheBias theme of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) – a global day celebrating the social economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – the staffing of Avanti West Coast’s central operations aims to showcase the various jobs held by women in rail and celebrate what they bring to their role.

Patrick Allinson, Operations Control Manager at the intercity operator, as well as his colleagues, Rachel Hartill (Duty Control Manager) and Amy Bellamy (Information Controller) worked on the idea as a perfect way to mark IWD.

“We want to champion what women bring to the industry and staffing our Control with this experienced team for a whole shift today is a great way to show this”, said Patrick.

“The number of women working here in Control is a great thing to celebrate, and by showcasing their roles we hope to encourage others to choose a career in rail. I have an eight-year-old daughter who I want to be able to consider many careers – some of which have previously been dominated by men. By joining my colleagues to recognise women in these roles, and highlight it is becoming the norm, we hope we can break the bias today and for future generations.”

To support the industry’s activities to recognise IWD, Avanti West Coast Team Leader, Laura Warwick, gave an insight into her railway career and shared how she is helping to #BreakTheBias as part of a video series by Network Rail.

Laura Warwick gives an insight into her career on the railway

The intercity operator’s efforts to champion women in the business follows its campaign to promote its Train Driver roles to working mothers and inspire those who are looking to make a career change.

Lizzie Power, Employee Director at Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re committed to developing our culture of diversity and championing the women across our business. One of the ways we are doing this is showcasing the roles of women in the business, across the network and throughout the industry.

“I’m so proud of my colleagues sharing their stories and experiences to support and celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme of break the bias, while giving an insight into the opportunities available. By challenging stereotypes and rejecting discrimination, we hope to pave the way for future generations and inspire those from all backgrounds to join the railway.”

Main image (L-R): Liane McMahon, Beth Tibbs, Nitu Kapila, Rachel Hartill, Lisa Healy, Amy Bellamy

Contact Information

Laura Normansell

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December 2019, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333