The Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2017

A fun event with a serious message:

On Friday 9 June 2017, 450 rail industry personnel were welcomed from across the sector by Adeline Ginn, Founder of Women in Rail to compete in the second Big Rail Diversity Challenge.

The event was a complete sell out – with a staggering 50% attendance growth year on year. 45 teams entered from across the industry which in itself is testimony to the magnificent support shown by all for this amazing organisation.

The event achieved its aim by proving that gender-balanced teams really do work better together; whilst raising awareness of the business benefits attained when engaging an equal ratio of 50% female and 50% male.

A cross between “It’s a Knockout” and “Krypton Factor”, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge provided participants with an opportunity to network, team build and fundraise whilst undertaking fun gender balanced team challenges.

Teams took part in a physically and mentally demanding set of challenges, from Motorised Bathtub racing to Zumba, Hovercraft skills to mind boggling quizzes, duck herding to blindfolded baking, simulator racing experiences to space hopper relays and human table football to segway relays!

The event closed with a fun award ceremony and acknowledgement was paid to teams who stood out in individual challenges, taking into consideration the highest scores earned, team effort, collaborative working and communication.



“The Railway Children Shelter Building Charity Challenge Award”Winner: Fusion (BAM Nuttall)Team NameFusion

“Best Team Name Award”Winner: Porterbrook and Young Rail ProfessionalsTeam Name: The Nuts and Bolts

“The Collaborative Teamwork Award”

“The Team of the Year Award”

“Bring on the Beans”

HS2 HS2- Team 3 218
Virgin Trains Virgin On The Ridiculous 215
Siemens Rail Automation Holdings Limited Disruptive Innovators 214
Jacobs Flying Jacobsman 214
Rail Technology Magazine Rail Technology Magazine 210
Amey Sersa Rags to Switches 210
Rail Safety and Standards Board RSSBeasts 209
Direct Rail Services The Revolution 208
Angel Trains Angelus Impedimenta 206
Northern Hub Alliance BAM Nuttall 205
Amey Sersa Noughts & Crossings 204


Thank you for supporting the Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2017

Event Testimonials

On behalf of the YRP team, I wanted to thank you, both of you and the rest of the organising team, for putting together such a brilliant initiative.

The team and I had so much fun, engraving fantastic memories (and pictures!) and was excellent team building experience.

This is without forgetting the purpose of the event – YRP committee members knows the values of diverse teams – whether it is gender, age, nationalities, background and even professions!

Sabrina Ihaddaden
National Chair – Young Rail Professionals

TSP would like to thank you for organizing the Diversity Challenge. We think it is important to support this message and the events and everyone enjoyed participating. The “Strengthener’s of the Lost Arch” greatly enjoyed the day and learned a great deal about team work, driving a virtual Lamborghini and who to rely on if we ever need an emergency shelter.

Thank you for your hard work.

Lee Owen – Bridges Team Leader
& TSP Projects “Strengthener’s of the Lost Arch”

Yesterday’s Big Rail Diversity Challenge took me totally out of my comfort zone and into a zorb, onto a Segway, part of a human table football game among other things. And you know what? I had a great time, worked in a team with people from my company I don’t normally come across and found some hidden talents… thank you!

Bridget Jackson, High Speed 2

Thanks so much for the chance to take part in such an amazing day. The wide range of opportunities to stretch our collective brains and to take part in some great physical challenges made for an exceptional day – enjoyable and all in an incredibly worthy cause. Highly recommended.

David Statham – Managing Director
Southeastern Railway

Aiming to bring together the entire rail industry under one roof is quite an undertaking. Cleverly though, the organisers Women in Rail and Nimble Media manager to do this by simply getting the biggest roof they could find… an aircraft hangar in fact! Highlights of the day included the Pedal powered house-kart challenge and the exhausting spider web climb, plus of course bumping into old colleagues from years gone by. In essence, if these hundreds of people represent the rail industry, then it’s in fine fettle.

Will Baxter, Brand Consultant/Managing Director
WillB Brand Consultants

The team from Fusion were thrilled to have had the opportunity to take part in such a fantastic concept. It’s refreshing to see events like the Big Rail Diversity Challenge taking place. Proving that you can raise the profile of serious agendas but in an innovative and team spirited fashion. Our thanks go to Women in Rail for hosting this event on behalf of the industry.

Nissar Mohammed, Managing Director

The Big Rail Diversity Challenge tested everything including; speed, creativity, memory, hand eye coordination, fitness, concentration, logical reasoning, ingenuity, engineering talent and of course our team working skills as all activities required everyone to take part, occasionally with many of the team blindfolded!

My personal favourite challenge was the Le Mans Soapbox challenge, in which we created an aerodynamic, stylish, decorated racing car (with wings!) from a very basic go kart frame, cardboard and tape. This was then raced, unfortunately we lost the race but we defiantly had the best looking car!

The event provides the opportunity to build on working relationships and learn and improve some of our ‘soft skills’. Many of which are translatable to the office environment, for example communication, planning, adaptability, reasoning

Penny Gilg, Graduate Engineer
TSP Projects

Support Women In Rail

Becoming a ‘Big Rail Diversity Challenge’ sponsor allows your company to promote its support of Women in Rail and its values, encourage diversity and promote initiatives aimed at positioning rail as an attractive career choice for young people.

“NSAR is delighted to be involved in “Women in Rail: Big Rail Diversity Challenge” and coordinate industry efforts in attracting and promoting new talent to enable the rail sector to be competitively positioned with other industries.

We are committed to diversity, equality and inclusion and aim to transform rail into a sector where each individual is able to succeed based on their dreams, skills and talent.”

The National Skills Academy Rail


We are delighted to support such an innovative event. We haven’t seen anything of its kind before!

The Railway Benefit Fund has seen how much opportunity there is to develop a more diverse workforce and what massive benefits can be achieved by doing so.

We are keen to learn about the key factors which are limiting the levels of diversity in our industry. If there is something we can do at the RBF to support and make a difference then we will!



The RSG fully supports this event as part of its commitment to see a more diverse workforce. The ‘Big Rail Diversity Challenge’ will deliver the Women in Rail undertaking by showing that gender diverse teams raise awareness for women working across the rail industry and the business benefit attained when companies improve gender balance.

The rail industry is struggling to recruit sufficient numbers into critical roles, such as systems engineers, signal designers, project managers, commercial managers and trainers. The sector particularly fails to attract women into engineering-related roles; gender diversity figures are unacceptable, with women numbering a mere 4% of railway engineers compared to 6% of the current UK engineering workforce and 12% across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related sectors.

This is part of a broader challenge across engineering sectors. It is prevalent in every aspect of the skills pipeline; from attracting students to enrol in STEM subjects at school, to encouraging engineering graduates and apprenticeships to come into the sector, to creating potential future industry leaders and front-line supervisors.

The Rail Supply Group

RSG Logo

As a company, Bachmann are supportive of the rail industry and work closely with it. Richard Trevithick built the first model back in 1804 before he built the first steam locomotive – so both industries can claim an early association with each other. The only difference is that the trains you operate are much larger than the ones Bachmann manufacture!

Bachmann are happy to support the Women in Rail Big Diversity Challenge and will be challenging you with a shunting puzzle layout so that you shunt your trains into the order that you choose by drawing coloured table tennis balls out of the bag and placing the coloured wagons in the right order in the quickest time.!

Bachmann Europe Plc

Bachmann Europe Plc

We are an Engineering Group, and as such are interested in the qualifications and Experience that people will bring into our Organisation. We need people who are forward thinking, able to work under pressure, possibly overseas in area’s without the technology that would be expected in the UK, and able to establish good teamwork with Locally Employed Nationals.

We are supporting the Women in Rail event as we are wanting to communicate the need for engineers within the Military, and the role that women can have within the Engineering establishments, and show them how they can realise their potential.

170 Infra Sp

KeolisAmey Docklands are supporting the Women in Rail Big Rail Diversity Challenge for it is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about diversity within the rail industry. It will provide an exciting day for teamwork not just amongst our own people but also other organisations attending. The challenge day will be very valuable in terms of networking and giving KAD the opportunity to be involved in promoting both women and men in progressing their career in rail.

The rail industry can easily be seen as dominated by male employees but it is initiatives such as this event and the Women in Rail organisation that helps make rail more appealing to the younger generation. It is the first organisation that has truly represented women in the rail industry through networking and support and KAD are proud to be part of it.

KeolisAmey Docklands

KeolisAmey Docklands logo Primary CMYK

“There are many features of society which reflect how we in Abellio approach what we regard are our strong values. Passengers are obviously very important to us, but without our Abellio people we would never be able to deliver for our customers. We are therefore fully committed to being inclusive for all. In Abellio, not only do we wish to contribute to the discussion on Women in Rail, but we desire to be a key player in the diversification of the rail industry, and seek to attract and retain talent representative from all areas of society.

We encourage our people to develop and grow their career within the industry, with our support every step of the way.

We are delighted to be supporting the work of Women In Rail, and more specifically the Big Rail Diversity Challenge, which we see as an opportunity to encourage collaboration across the board and show that men and women can work together to produce fantastic results.”



Rail is a vibrant and exciting industry that offers enormous opportunities for fulfilling careers where individuals get to make a real, tangible difference to others. Why would we want to restrict those opportunities to only one group of people? Our best chance of success as an industry is through encouraging everyone, regardless of their gender or background to see the rail sector as their chance for an exciting future. Finding innovative and fun ways to get people thinking about how to achieve this and how to break down the barriers to rail diversity is vital – the Big Rail Diversity Challenge is a brilliant example of just that.”

Nigel Harris,
Managing Editor & Events Director