ALL aboard! Anchorsholme mum Tracie Wing is urging other Fylde coast women to get on the right track and join her – as a train driver.
It might seem a somewhat unusual job for a lady, but Northern Rail is looking for more women, just like Tracie, to join its driving team.
The company, which is recruiting in Blackpool from April 30, employs 1,352 drivers across its network, but only 66 are women.
It is hoping to raise awareness among local females that it’s a job for both sexes, and hopes to attract more women to the role.
Tracie has been driving trains for the firm for 10 years, and says she would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
And while she does have to put up with a bit of banter from her male colleagues about “women drivers”, she says it’s all light-hearted, good fun and it isn’t an issue working in a male-dominated environment.
The 42-year-old said: “I think the problem is many women just aren’t aware of the role. People are always surprised when I say what I do. They don’t generally think it’s something women can do.
“I didn’t know about it until it was mentioned to me.
“I had got divorced, and was thinking about leaving the prison service, where I was working as a PE teacher, when a friend suggested I become a train driver.
“Then the next day my dad mentioned it too, and the day after that, there was an advert in The Gazette – it felt like fate was trying to tell me something. So I signed up, and have never looked back.”
Tracie, who started with Northern when her son was 18 months old, is now a driver instructor, as well as driving trains regularly from Blackpool North Station.
She said: “Every day is different. There are core duties, but they vary day-to-day. I enjoy meeting different people, having different challenges and the banter.
“There is lots of good banter with male colleagues, but you give as good as you get.
“There’s no reason at all why women can’t work in the industry. Don’t be put off, it’s not a particularly physical job. I’m 5ft 2ins and can do everything.
“I am lucky as I’ve had great support from my mum and friends, as well as my new husband, with childcare when I am working shifts.
“I have job security, and it’s decent wages with a decent amount of time off and good camaraderie.
“The most challenging bit really is learning the rules and regulations - and all the terminology was completely new to me when I started.
“But I have good, supportive bosses and I really enjoy the job. I’d definitely recommend it.”
Pay as a train driver starts at £17,640 for a trainee rising to £35,265 for a second-year driver
No qualifications are needed as all training is given in-house
Vacancies attract a lot of interest – register for a job alert at www.northernrail.org/ careers.