A Day In The Life Of... ...............................

Only five per cent of train driv­ers in the UK are fe­male and Ali­son Miller, 42, is one of them. She’s also the Women’s Equal­ity Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Scot­land...

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In­ever con­sid­ered a ca­reer in the rail­way be­fore I ap­plied, although I did vol­un­teer at Bo’ness and Kin­neil Preser­va­tion Rail­way with my hus­band who is a vol­un­teer driver and sig­naller there. A friend told me about a train driv­ing job so I de­cided to ap­ply to see what hap­pened. The re­cruit­ment process is long and it isn’t easy – there were thou­sands ap­ply­ing for the job!

The high­light of my ca­reer was driv­ing my first solo ser­vice af­ter 18 months of train­ing.

My first day was nerve-rack­ing but I couldn’t stop smil­ing. It was just like driv­ing a car on your own for the first time, with no one to hold your hand.

I love the va­ri­ety that comes with be­ing a train driver.

I have a new route ev­ery day so I drive many dif­fer­ent trains and start and fin­ish at dif­fer­ent times, no two days are the same.

Ev­ery­thing is very pre­cise in the rail­way – it’s all down to the minute.

At the mo­ment my ear­li­est start time is 4.06am so for that shift I get up at 2.30am and aim to leave the house just af­ter 3am. On those days I will make sure I’m in bed for 5pm!

Be­fore I leave I shower, wash my hair, and get dressed.

Then quickly put my make-up on and make some­thing to eat. If I am back­shift I take my dogs a walk and maybe do some house­work.

What I do varies day-to-day as I am also the Women’s Equal­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Scot­land.

Part of this role is to pro­mote the rail­way and, specif­i­cally, train driv­ing to women who make up less than five per cent of driv­ers in the UK, I would love to see this rise to 50 per cent. Most peo­ple are shocked that a woman is driv­ing their train. Once a man said to me: ‘Oh, they let women drive trains now’. I would like to see more di­ver­sity in train driv­ing.

Be­cause I work in a safety crit­i­cal role, the length of my shift dictates my break.

If I work for be­tween six and nine hours I get a 30-minute break be­tween the 3rd and 5th hour of my shift. How­ever, if it’s over nine hours I have a 40-minute break be­tween hours four and six. Also my break could be at an­other de­pot, not just at Glas­gow Cen­tral, so I have to bring food in with me. It’s usu­ally left­overs from the night be­fore – chicken curry for break­fast!

At the mo­ment I don’t fin­ish any later than half past one in the morn­ing. I’m an eighthours-sleep type of per­son and make sure I get a full eight hours.

I wanted to be a vet when I was younger, I still love an­i­mals.

At the mo­ment I have six res­cued cats and three res­cued dogs! I have vol­un­teered for an­i­mal char­i­ties in the past and I try to at­tend char­ity events as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

Be­fore I be­came a train driver, I worked in so­cial work.

I quit my job to go to Strath­clyde Univer­sity at the age of 25 to study Geog­ra­phy and Scot­tish Stud­ies. Then I worked for Strath­clyde Po­lice as a Crim­i­nal In­tel­li­gence An­a­lyst. I have done many jobs, but train driv­ing is my ca­reer, and it’s the best ca­reer move I have ever made.

My friends and fam­ily think that it’s cool that I drive trains.

I get five days off ev­ery three weeks so where pos­si­ble I like to try and spend time with them and travel. I also like tak­ing my dogs for a walk, or go­ing to the gym too.

Most peo­ple don’t be­lieve me when I tell them I am a train driver.

Then they nor­mally ask me how much I earn! I think that the best ca­reers ad­vice I can give any­one want­ing to be a train driver is: don’t give up!

The thing I love most about Scot­land is... The peo­ple! It’s great be­ing out and about ev­ery day meet­ing all sorts of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent walks of life. Fave drink­ing spot... Oran Mor, Glas­gow. Fave child­hood mem­ory of Scot­land... Go­ing to Sun­day...

Ali­son said most peo­ple don’t be­lieve her when she tells them what she does for a liv­ing

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