International Women’s Day – All Change

International Women’s Day – All Change

Published 8 March 2020 | Average read time
5 min read
Stories Environment Industry-leading

This International Women’s Day we celebrate how the railway is changing – and we’re changing with it.

A flagship film launched on International Women’s Day (8 March) takes us on an exciting railway journey, calling at stops including gaming, virtual reality, biodiversity, sustainability and community.

Watch All Change to find out why these surprising disciplines and values are so important to how we run the modern railway – and how young people can turn their interests into rewarding careers that positively impact communities all over Britain.

Watch All Change:



“Everyone can do it.” – Aspara Giri, train dispatcher

“Something that I’m passionate about.” – Sharon Salmon, commercial analyst

“It’s a great way to spend some time outside.” – Michelle Chabalowski, environmental specialist

Read about Britain’s first all-female passenger train


Why is a career on the railway for everyone?

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a job for you. You’ve probably seen our people on track maintaining and repairing the railway, or upgrading our stations. These jobs are incredibly important to running the railway every single day.

What you might not know is that operating a modern railway requires a wide variety of surprising jobs.

Environment and biodiversity

We’re one of Britain’s biggest landowners so we have a lot of ground to look after. This means we need geotechnical engineers to ensure the ground is safe for trains to run over, and environmental specialists to look after the wildlife living by the railway and make sure we limit our environmental impact as much as possible. We’re getting better at this all the time.

If you love the outdoors and have a fascination for landscapes and the environment, keep learning about them and consider a career with us!

Find out more about how we look after our land and the biodiversity on it, and how we’re working hard to reduce improve the railway’s sustainability by recycling almost all our waste and using renewable energy.

Gallery: biodiversity and renewable energy on the railway

How we moved a river: re-routing a waterway and protecting the environment

Managing habitats by the railway

Watch this film about geotech to find out how we look after the ground the railway runs on


Our signallers need fast reflexes and quick thinking to use our tech

Are you a big gaming fan? You probably have the perfect skills for a career on the railway. Our signalling and National Operations Centre teams need quick reflexes – they must think fast, make quick decisions, solve problems and keep an eye on multiple large screens at once.

We couldn’t look after the railway and the trains using it without people with this gaming-style mindset!

Find out about our National Operations Centre and how signals work.

Drones, lasers and virtual reality

We use a huge range of state-of-the-art technology across the railway, from drones to virtual reality – and we’re constantly researching and developing our tech.

We have our own Air Operations team, which uses a special camera attached to the Network Rail helicopter to take a huge number of pictures and videos of the railway. This allows us to survey the condition of the railway much faster than sending people out on foot, which means we can prevent and repair problems as quickly and as safely as possible. Our Air Operations team also regularly uses drones to help us do it.

Read about the Air Operations team and watch this short video:

Meanwhile, an incredible camera takes 70,000 images of rail a second to help us prevent track faults. The Plain Line Pattern Recognition Technology (PLPR) uses a camera and laser to check the condition of rail from our maintenance train and sends the data to analysts in our offices. Watch this amazing kit in action.

Did you know we routinely use virtual reality? We’re using it more and more to train our 40,000 staff across Britain. It’s vital we train our people safely and VR helps us to this better than ever.

We can immerse our staff in digitally recreated parts of the railway – and we have the potential to build the entire railway in VR – that’s 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges tunnels and viaducts, and thousands of signals in England, Wales and Scotland. Take a look:

Gallery: our virtual railway

Five times tech changed the railway

Research, development and technology


We’re proud to serve communities all over Britain. Everything we do is aimed at helping people and improving communities. We do this by giving passengers better links to jobs, education, training, culture, and family and friends. Improving transport links also helps boost the economy by making it easier for people to travel.

If you hope to do a job that improves people’s lives and enriches communities – and be part of a big community at work – the railway is for you!

Find out more below about why the railway is full of fascinating and rewarding careers for everybody, and how you can join us at any stage of your career.

Read more:

International Women in Engineering Day: Just Like Me

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Graduate schemes


Summer placements

Year in industry placements

Gender equality

Life at Network Rail

Gender pay gap report