Severnside CRP’s ‘Pioneer Portraits’ celebrate women in community rail

Two new portraits have been unveiled as part of the ‘Pioneers of the Railway’ gallery at Filton Abbey Wood Station.

The gallery, established by Severnside Community Rail Partnership, celebrates individuals from under-represented backgrounds who have strived for progress and made a difference on the railways.

The portraits have been created by emerging local artist and member of Rising Arts Agency Valentina Paz Huxley, who creates vivid and eye-catching work.

The latest portraits feature  two people who have championed women in community rail alongside many other roles and projects. Councillor Marion Atkinson is the first female leader of Sefton Council, chair of Women in Community Rail (WiCR) and two community rail partnerships, vice chair and board member of Community Rail Network as well as Rail Support Officer for Merseytravel. The other portrait depicts Marjorie Birch, who was instrumental in establishing the education programme at Community Rail Lancashire and is greatly missed as a deputy chair of WiCR.

The launch took place on International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March) with a celebration event held at Lockleaze Sports Centre following the unveiling at the station.

The project was made possible thanks to funding and support from Community Rail Network, Great Western Railway, Cross Country and Women in Community Rail.

Faye Keane, Community Development Officer at Severnside CRP, said: “It should come as no surprise to those in community rail that Marion and Marjorie’s portraits were a welcomed addition to the Pioneers’ gallery. Both women have worked with communities to develop a more inclusive and representative voice in rail and have had to be resilient and determined over their careers to do so.

“It is our pleasure to highlight all they achieved and bring this to the attention of others to educate and inspire!”

Marcus Deegan, GWR Station Manager, said: “The Pioneers Gallery at Filton Abbey Wood Station has brightened up Platform 4, allowing station users to learn more about people from marginalised communities who have brought great value to the rail industry. The vibrant and colourful portraits have caught the eye of many people passing by, even from the train window! We are delighted to support this project and our local community rail partnership.”

Keep up to date with future news, projects and events from Severnside CRP via their website.