International Women's Day 2021 - Bobby

“It’s a really tough and challenging job but I work with great people. I have been working the same route for many years and because I see the same customers on our services – there is a sense of community. You become part of their lives and I Iove that.”

Bobby AndrewsBobby Andrews, Train Manager at Avanti West Coast

Because of staff like Bobby, the railway was able to maintain passenger services during the most testing time of this country’s recent history, helping to keep essential workers moving safely and confidently.

But as with so many key workers, it wasn’t immediately obvious to Bobby just how big a role she was playing in the country’s response to the virus. “I have worked throughout the pandemic and when key workers say to us “thanks for coming into work so we can do our jobs”, you start to realise that you are key worker too” Bobby says. “It’s since then that I have got a sense of the importance of what I’m doing to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”

Bobby has been a Train Manager on the Euston-Birmingham-Wolverhampton route for the last 18 years, where she is responsible for overall train safety, as well as customer service. Prior to coronavirus she’d regularly be managing trains carrying up to 300 passengers on board.

Speaking about how she felt working during the pandemic, she said: “At first I was nervous, but when I started working during lockdown, I thought: ‘okay we are doing this’ and got on with it”. One of the things that reassured her were the guidelines put in place to make sure staff and customers were safe, such as reducing capacity to maintain social distancing, and enhanced cleaning. “It’s been good to help customers understand the importance of wearing face coverings or socially distance on board” Bobby explained.

Asked about what she likes about working in rail, Bobby said: “It’s a really tough and challenging job but I work with great people. I have been working the same route for many years and because I see the same customers on our services – there is a sense of community. You become part of their lives and I Iove that”.

Bobby has been working on the railways for 21 years, beginning her career in April 1999 as platform staff at Wolverhampton, before becoming a revenue inspector on board trains. In her current role as a Train Manager she is responsible for the overall safety and revenue duties of the train including all safety duties before, during and after the journey, as well as ticket checks, customer information, onboard announcements and providing exceptional customer experience.

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