This film is part of Free

Woman Train Driver

Amy enters traditional male preserve of train driving

News 1980 3 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Westward TV reporter John Doyle joins Amy for a ride on the West Somerset Railway from Williton to Minehead and showcases her skills but also quizzes her on how it is she left household and children to become a train driver. He concludes that traditional male preserves are in decline as women enter the last male-dominated workplaces.

Karen Harrison is the first woman to be appointed as a train driver in the UK having applied as a teenager in 1977 to be a Secondman and having to refuse secretarial duties when her employer realised she was a woman. She went on to join the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Fireman or ASLEF. Interestingly, in this film, Amy stops short of driving steam trains although she would like to because you have to train as a fireman, at the time another great male preserve!