Community Rail Lancashire celebrates women’s stories of rail travel

To mark International Women’s Day and to encourage more women to get involved with rail, Community Rail Lancashire released the second volume of an anthology celebrating women’s stories of rail travel.

100 More Women, 100 More Journeys celebrates stories from women across the country about journeys they have taken via rail, encompassing the heartbreaking to the humorous and the hopeful.

The booklet aims to remind readers of the beauty of travelling by train, as well as inspiring more women to look towards the rail industry for a potential career.

The project first originated during the Covid-19 lockdown, when Community Rail Lancashire’s education team encouraged women to write about a memorable journey they had taken, with the aim of compiling the stories into a book sharing the women’s recollections and experiences. Volume 1 was launched on International Women’s Day in March 2021, and a total of 1,400 booklets have been printed and handed out at stations across the country since then.

The second volume was officially launched at Preston Station on International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March 2024). Booklets will be available to collect for free at selected stations and readers are encouraged to donate to Women’s Aid’s ‘Rail to Refuge’ scheme.

Photo credit: Avanti West Coast.

Participant Kate Woolven wrote about her trip to London to see her and her dad’s idol, Bruce Springsteen. Kate said: “I can’t believe my writing is in a book! This has really inspired me to write more. I’m so glad I’ve taken part in this project.”

The project was made possible thanks to grants from the Community Rail Development Fund, Community Rail Lancashire, Transport for Greater Manchester and Women in Community Rail.

Karen Bennett, education team leader at Community Rail Lancashire, said: “I am delighted with the second edition of the award-winning 100 Women, 100 Journeys. My thanks go to all the contributors who took the time to share memorable train trips or details of successful railway careers. I am sure the stories will inspire many other women to go on a new journey or look towards the industry for future job roles.”

Marion Atkinson, chair of Women in Community Rail, said: “Women in Community Rail was delighted to support this project. We are always looking at ways to generate interest in the railway, and the book does exactly that, by sharing personal stories from women across the country who have fantastic memories from their journeys by rail.”

Mark Angelucci, rail performance officer at Transport for Greater Manchester, said: “Transport for Greater Manchester is happy to support such an innovative and enriching collection of women’s personalised experiences of the railway. We hope this generates increased awareness and use of rail travel.”

Clare Kingswood, executive director of stations at Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re proud to have hosted the launch of 100 More Women, 100 More Journeys at Preston Station, as we’re committed to inspiring women to work in rail.

“Bringing together people from across the industry to preview the book and meet some of the faces behind the tales was great. We enjoyed discovering what the railway means to others and hope the book will encourage more women to join the industry, while supporting the Rail to Refuge scheme by Women’s Aid.”

Download a digital copy of the 100 More Women, 100 More Journeys booklet here.

For more information about Community Rail Lancashire, visit their website.

Photo credit: Avanti West Coast.