Avanti West Coast rebranded a Pendolino trainset earlier this year to celebrate Pride 2020.

UK: A pan-industry agreement to champion diversity, equality and inclusion across the rail sector has been launched by the Railway Industry Association and Women In Rail.

The joint Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Charter is a commitment to work together to build ‘a more balanced, higher performing sector’, and has been backed by over 100 organisations.

Launched at RIA’s Annual Conference on November 6, it includes a number of commitments to drive behaviour at the signatory organisations. These include:

  • to appoint a member of the senior leadership team as an ‘EDI Champion’;
  • to agree an action plan, monitor and report on progress made;
  • to provide opportunities for training and education of employees, support the progression of diverse individuals into senior roles to improve representation at the executive level of the industry;
  • to create a culture that fosters inclusion and provides a safe space for all employees to talk openly, including at industry events and in meetings; and
  • to make recruitment and progression processes accessible and attractive to all, in order to attract, retain and develop people of all backgrounds, ages, genders and identities.

The agreement remains open for further participation from ‘companies and organisations who wish to play a role in promoting positive change in the rail industry’.

‘We are delighted to announce the EDI Charter in partnership with Women in Rail’, commented RIA Chairman David Tonkin and Chief Executive Darren Caplan in a joint statement. ‘Whilst there has been plenty of progress in the rail supply sector which we should be proud of, there is still more to do to promote diversity and equal opportunity.’

gb GTR train driver waving

Govia Thameslink Railway is among the rail organisations redoubling its efforts to recruit more women to frontline roles.

‘The rail industry has worked hard in the last few years to promote equality, diversity and inclusion within its workforce’, added Women in Rail Founder & Director Adeline Ginn. ‘In these challenging times, it is important we strengthen these efforts to ensure we attract and harness the skills, knowledge and insight from everyone representing all parts of our society and our customers.

‘This charter represents our industry’s commitment to openly support this agenda and we are delighted to be partnering with the Railway Industry Association, and all the signatories, on this exciting initiative.’

The charter has been backed by organisation across the industry. Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines said that the infrastructure manager was ‘proud to be signing up to the EDI Charter. We all have a collective role to play in making a positive change in our industry, so we are pledging to collaborate and take actions that will promote better equality, diversity and inclusion in the rail industry. We have taken some positive steps forward in recent years but still have a long way to go, and together, we can really make the difference that is needed.’


Among the organisations already signed up are the Department for Transport, the Rail Delivery Group, the National Skills Academy for Rail, Transport for London and Transport for Wales. Other pan-industry group include ORR and the British Transport Police, while in the supply chain signatories include Alstom, Hitachi Rail, CAF and Bombardier Transportation.

DB Cargo UK, Colas Rail and Southeastern are among the operators taking part; other organisations include the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research & Education and the Rail Alliance.