Father and daughter train drivers urge more women to step into the cab

Kevin and Chloe McKinlay hope International Women’s Day will inspire people to ‘challenge gender stereotypes’.

Kevin and Chloe McKinlay
Kevin and Chloe McKinlay

A father and daughter train driving duo have urged more women to consider pursuing the career.

Kevin and Chloe McKinlay, who both work for Avanti West Coast, hope International Women’s Day will inspire people to “challenge gender stereotypes”.

They are believed to be the only father and daughter drivers working for the same operator on Britain’s railways.

Chloe McKinlay, 25, joined Avanti West Coast's driver training scheme in August 2020 (Avanti West Coast/PA)
Chloe McKinlay, 25, joined Avanti West Coast’s driver training scheme last August (Avanti West Coast/PA)

A 2019 study commissioned by train drivers’ union Aslef found just 6.5% of drivers in Britain were women.

Trainee driver Ms McKinlay, 25, from Liverpool, said: “Even though my dad is a driver, growing up never once did I think driving was an option for me. Only men drive trains, I thought.

“As a degree apprentice, I spent some time working with the driver team and I thought why not?

“The company have been incredibly supportive, and that’s given me the confidence to go for it.

“And on International Women’s Day that’s the message I’d like to pass on to other women.

“Don’t be afraid to challenge gender stereotypes. If I can do it, why not you?

“Train driving is a wonderful career, one that carries a lot of responsibility and job satisfaction.”

One third of the new recruits on Ms McKinlay’s course are female, suggesting the gender balance is shifting.

Her father Kevin, 57, who has driven trains for more than 20 years, said: “We’re so proud of her, not only for getting this far but also how she’s wanting to use her story to encourage other women who might have previously been put off from applying to be a train driver.”

Avanti West Coast head of drivers Paul Makepeace said: “We, like many other train operators, face a potential skills shortage with a large number of our drivers expected to retire in the coming few years.

“The industry needs to identify and develop the train drivers of the future, and we’re hoping that Chloe’s story will encourage more women to seriously consider it as a realistic and achievable career to pursue.”

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