The Hull Trains women who rose through ranks to become new drivers

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 Apr 2019

A pair of women who started out as on-board hosts at Hull Trains have risen through the ranks to qualify as fully-fledged train drivers.

Emma Ramsden, 30, and Sarah Goulbourne, 34, have both been training to become drivers since last August, and passed the gruelling test with flying colours.

The duo have now cemented their place as part of the next generation of drivers at Hull Trains.

Hull Trains is already bucking the trend when it comes to female train drivers. Just under a third of the company’s drivers are women, compared to the national average of just five per cent.

Emma, who joined Hull Trains aged 19, said: “Sitting in the driver’s cab for the first time was an incredibly proud moment for me.

“I just could not stop smiling, it just felt right and all seemed to fall into place.

Sarah Goulbourne is a new driver at Hull Trains (Hull Trains)

“I maybe thought one day that I’d possibly work my way up to this, but I didn’t think it would be this quick. I’m proud of myself, I’d only just turned 30 when I got the job.

“Following the intense training, I’m now completely confident and ready for this challenge and grateful for the exciting opportunity.”

Hull Trains is one of the most diverse businesses in the UK’s rail sector.

Read more: The faces of 24 of Hull's most influential women

More than half of its staff are women, and it is the only operating company with a female at its helm.

Another of Hull Trains’ drivers, Claire Sonley, also became the youngest female in her role in the country.

Sarah, who joined the business when she was just 18 as an onboard host, said: “Hull Trains make sure as a candidate you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for.

Emma Ramsden, of Hull Trains (Hull Trains)

“They only put you forward for what they know you are ready for. We were so excited to go out on our own because it has been a long process, and it’s got to the point where it’s really happened.

“When you tell people you are a train driver, they are like ‘wow, really?’ I think this is because people still think of train drivers as being a man’s job, but it’s not like that at Hull Trains.”

Both Emma and Sarah began their driver training on the same day in August 2018.

Read more: Meet Hull and Humber's brightest stars as top 30 under 30 is announced for 2019

The positions were advertised internally, and a covering letter and CV got them both an invitation to the initial assessments.

They both also had to sit a day-long psychometric testing.

“It was so intense,” Emma said.

“I really was not sure how I’d done, it was mind-draining, we were concentrating all day. I remember the dots test where you had to stare at a piece of paper and circle all the clusters of four dots amongst the lines.

“In another we had to look at a computer screen for an hour and when you saw a black square you had to press a button. You were wondering if you had blinked and missed any.”

Read more: Look inside the new Hull Trains hitting the tracks this November

Training includes 225 hours of driving, plus in-dept classroom learning.

Emma and Sarah said they were both aware of the huge responsibility the role brings.

“It’s a massive responsibility,” Emma said.

“I’m not just in charge of staff and passenger safety, but I’ve now got five carriages of trains behind me with 200+ passengers.”

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