On 21 June 2023, companies representing the UK’s rail industry came together at Newark Showground to participate in the seventh annual Big Rail Diversity Challenge.

First held in 2016, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge has truly captured the hearts and minds of the industry – demonstrating the passion, support and enthusiasm for the brilliant work that Women in Rail undertakes. Growing by a staggering 80% since its launch, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge has become a staple in the industry’s event calendar, with many key industry stakeholders supporting it year-on-year.

As one of charity Women in Rail’s annual flagship events, The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is the only team-based rail event showcasing the diversity the UK railway industry is seeking to achieve. The challenges are designed to promote the message that diverse teams work better together, with companies taking part in a series of physical, mental and skill-based sessions including; Catwalk Challenge, The Great Diversity Bake Off, Human Table Football, Shelter Building, the Mighty Quiz and Dancing with the Shows!. Designed to put a team’s communication and teamwork skills to the test, the challenges are developed to ensure that everyone has a role to play.

Shona Clive, Vice Chair of Women in Rail said, “This is the eighth year of The Big Rail Diversity Challenge and the largest to date. It’s one of our key events in the Women in Rail calendar and is a dynamic, fun-filled day with gender balanced and diverse teams participating, networking and competing with peers across the sector. The event highlights an important message that diversity is good for people, good for business and good for the rail industry and raises the profile of EDI and the rail sector’s commitment to improving diversity within its workforce and fostering an inclusive culture. Thank you to everyone who took part.”

The event is supported by many key industry bodies, organisations and charities; The British Transport Police returned for a fourth year to deliver the ‘Lines of Duty’ challenge – designed to support a cross industry campaign which encourages officers and rail staff to use their professional curiosity in order to safeguard people they may encounter on the rail network.

The Railway Benefit Fund had participants supporting one another through the toughest of times, blindfolded and carrying ‘beans’ through an inflatable obstacle course as part of their ‘Bring on the Beans’ challenge, whilst the Railway Children charity had teams constructing a one-person shelter using basic materials that could be available to a child living on the streets.

After a tiring day of learning the Haka, Broadway routines, and countless inflatables, awards were presented.

The ‘Best Team Name Award’ went to Alstom for ‘Lock, Rolling Stock and Smoking Barrel’, presented by Simon Parkin, Operations Manager of McCulloch Group, representing our 2023 Fundraising Sponsors.

The British Transport Police ‘Lines of Duty Award’, judged and presented by Mark Lawrie, Superintendent: Special Constabulary with the British Transport Police, was won by ‘CRSA – Systems’ from Central Rail Systems Alliance. 

For creating the best shelter – and showing the best teamwork on the Railway Children ‘Shelter Building’ Challenge, Cat Howourth, Event Manager for Railway Children presented the ‘Shelter Building Award’ to ‘Railhouse Rock’ from Atkins ECP.

The Railway Benefit Fund‘s ‘Bring on the Beans Award’ was presented to ‘The Determinators’ of LNER by the charity’s Fundraising Manager, Suzy Powell, for showing the ability to laugh at the toughest times, whilst still achieving their goal.

‘The Most Collaborative Teamwork Award’ was judged on the team performance across two of the event’s favourite challenges – It’s a Knockout and Walk the Plank. The winner was Porterbrook for displaying outstanding teamwork and motivational support.

And finally, the most coveted trophy of the day ‘The Team of the Year Award’ for achieving the highest overall score with an impressive 243 out of a possible 260, went to ‘Team Frauscher’ from Frauscher. The 2023 winner’s trophy was presented by Abigail Hancock, Head of Environment and Sustainability of Linbrooke Services and Women in Rail Yorkshire Steering Committee Member.

On the day, there was also a Charity Tuck Shop and a Hamper Raffle which helped raise over £800.00 for the Women in Rail Charity. 

The images from the event are now available to view on The Big Rail Diversity Challenge website

A big thank you to all the teams attending. If your company would like to join The Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2024 please contact Nimble Media to secure your place.

Add 19 June 2024 to your diary and we hope to see you at #BigRail2024!

If you need more help in planning your event, then speak with a member of the Nimble Media team today.

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