A record 620 delegates from across the UK rail sector attended the fourth Big Rail Diversity Challenge at Newark Showground on Thursday, 27 June 2019. 

The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is charity Women in Rail’s annual flagship event designed to highlight the benefits of gender balance and diversity in the industry.

Delegates took part in a plethora of physically and mentally demanding challenges – including Build a Scarecrow, Haka and It’s a Knockout! – aiming to show that gender diverse teams work better together; and to raise the awareness of the business benefits when companies improve their male:female worker ratio. 

“The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is an important step in the rail industry agenda. It openly seeks to disprove one of the most destructive myths in professional life: that women and men cannot work effectively together. By engaging both men and women in equal measure, we have started to tackle gender imbalance head-on and create a more attractive, productive and successful industry in the process,” comments Adeline Ginn, Founder of Women in Rail. 

Members of the British Transport Police, RAF, British Army Royal Engineers, alongside rail industry charities Railway Benefit Fund and Railway Children, provided many of the challenges.

After a tiring day of competition, awards were presented, with special thanks to event sponsors – Morson International and Colas Rail. 



  • 1
    Chew Chew Bakka Bakka
    Chew Chew Bakka Bakka
    Score: 274.5
  • 2
    Genesee Giants
    Genesee Giants
    Score: 272.5
  • 3
    Noughts & Crossings
    Noughts & Crossings
    Score: 271
  • 4
    Dexter's Rogue Squad
    Dexter's Rogue Squad
    Score: 269
  • 5
    Los Españoles
    Los Españoles
    Score: 264
  • 6
    Score: 262
  • 7
    McGinley Mavericks
    McGinley Mavericks
    Score: 258
  • 8
    Born to XC'D
    Born to XC'D
    Score: 253.5
  • 9
    Mean Machine
    Mean Machine
    Score: 251.5
  • 10
    Great British Brake Off
    Great British Brake Off
    Score: 251.5
  • View All Scores



  • 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
    TSP Projects
  • 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 Two
  • 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
  • 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
  • What a fabulous event! Such a unique opportunity for teams to have so much fun away from formalised environments. Everyone is on a level in their sports kit and team shirts, no suits or uniforms. The Nimble team did an incredible job and no detail was missed. They created an incredibly fun atmosphere on a massive scale. The room was full of laughter and team spirit. We can’t wait to be there next year- if they will have us!!

    Faye Jacques, Fundraising Manager
    The Railway Benefit Fund
  • I just wanted to send a mail to tell you what an absolutely fantastic time the Virgin Trains Team had last Friday. The event was amazing, the staff were great and the organisation was second to none. We will definitely be back next year.

    Sharon Noble, Lead Finance Business Partner
    Virgin Trains East Coast
  • I just want to say thank you for last Friday. An absolutely brilliant day and we can’t wait to be part of it again next year!

    Joanna Hemmings, Communications Manager
    Network Certification Body
  • The team and I really enjoyed the Rail Diversity Challenge 2017. It was a great way to meet colleagues working across the country as well as to meet with customers and suppliers in an informal setting. The team spirit started strong as we split into two mini groups to design our soapbox racer! The ladies took the front, the gents took the back, and we supped up our kart ready for the race track. Sadly we didn’t get across the line first, but we did keep that teamwork strong throughout the day. The human table football really brought us together, with a 5-aside match. Team members swapped at halftime, but the support and advice from the each half of our spectating team was wonderful. Each goal scored was cheered as if we had been following our league team.

    Liz Lothian, Production Engineer
    Knorr-Bremse Rail UK
  • To be honest, myself and the rest of the team had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we signed up to the Big Rail Diversity Challenge but we had an absolutely amazing time and wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The event itself was brilliantly managed and ran like absolute clockwork. I can genuinely say, on behalf of myself and the rest of the team, we never stopped laughing from the start to the finish and the event was THE BEST team building experience(s) we’ve ever had. We were all set to sign up for next year’s event before we’d even jumped on the train home……which is a marl of what a great day we’d had!

    Paul Larder, Senior Retail Assurance Manager
    Virgin Trains East Coast
  • I loved the whole day!
    A diverse eclectic, committed and energetic bunk of individuals came together to deliver an outstanding result that we were all very pleased about.

    Nick Binks, Business Improvement and Risk Manager
    Angel Trains
  • We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to you and everyone who organized the fantastic Big Rail Diversity Challenge. We all had a superb experience. The biggest compliment to you and your team I think, was even thought I was full of aches and pains on an early shift on the Platform on Friday, when a colleague asked how it went my response was “if I got a call today to do it all again tomorrow, I would be booking my tickets and I think most of my teammates would say the same. So, a HUGE thank you from everyone, I look forward to next year’s event, but think there will be a lot more people volunteering when they here of our experience.

    Tony Brindley
    MTR Crossrail
  • Thank you for a fantastic event on Thursday! All of our colleagues thoroughly enjoyed it and the day was very well organised.

    Natalie Sparrow
    Southeastern Railway
  • This was our first time putting a team together for the Big Rail Diversity Challenge. We had colleagues from site and office and although a number of us talk to our site staff via phone or email this was the first chance we got to meet face to face and bond which the day really helped us to do and work as a team and support one another.
    We all had a fantastic day and can’t wait to do it again! Although inflatable sports are a lot harder that they look!!
    Thanks for a great day – so well organised!!

    Kimberley McGinty, Skills and Employment Advisor
    The VGC Group


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.