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First woman yard controller at Crown Point depot

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Greater Anglia has appointed its first-ever woman yard controller at Crown Point depot, Norwich.

Helen Dickerson, who has worked in the rail industry for 17 years, started on work experience before joining full-time when she left school. She has lots of experience of various jobs on the railway, including posting tickets to customers, working in customer relations and telesales, before she started depot work in 2009.

Having worked as a production control assistant, she felt she was ready for a change and applied for the job as a yard controller earlier this year.

Helen is now responsible for train movements in the yard, making sure trains are refuelled, kept up to date with maintenance and ready for services in the morning. She said: “There are more than 100 men at Crown Point and I am the only woman working in a frontline engineering role.

“I am really enjoying my new job. There’s a lot of job satisfaction – you can come into work and the yard can be very busy.

“The job is all about communication and it’s great to know you’re helping people get to work, school or important appointments every day. The railway is a brilliant place to work – not many people would stay at the same job since they left school.”

With major changes to the depot underway, Helen’s job recently became more challenging. Greater Anglia is investing more than £40 million in a project that will see the depot transformed to accommodate some of the company’s new trains, which are longer than existing trains

The depot is getting better facilities to house and maintain the 58 new Stadler-built trains, as well as a new train washing facility, improved servicing equipment and the ability to store and dispense more fuel.

Currently 22 per cent of Greater Anglia employees are women, something the company is working to address.

It recently launched an internal recruitment campaign to increase the number of women train drivers. Currently less than 5 per cent of Greater Anglia train drivers are women.

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