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Women In Rail

At Linbrooke we understand the fundamental challenges female employees face in a male-dominated industry to fulfil their potential. Women represent half of the world’s population, and therefore should be given equal opportunities in their career choices.

We encourage our female employees to speak up about the challenges they face in this environment, with a vision that the below stories will inspire and encourage more women to consider a career in Rail changing the stereotype of the industry.


Roseanna Wolstenholme

With only 11% of the UK’s engineers being female, I have got used to being the only female in the room, or at least, part of the minority!

Who else remembers that metal works classrooms at High School? Those with the lathes and the stagnant smell of oil and metal and the hot works stations? That’s where my dreams started. And those classrooms became somewhat of a second home for me over the years.

I’d always been a hands-on child, with a passion for anything creative and innovative, and when it came to my GCSE choices, it was never going to be anything other than engineering!

During my GCSE’s I had been given the opportunity to visit Sheffield Hallam University’s’ biomedical science department, and this captured my inner engineer. I was fascinated and excited at the endless possibilities, and how the small differences can change people’s lives. Even then, I had a keen eye for detail, and this only nurtured the passion within me.

My passion continued, and so did my education. I always wanted a well-rounded knowledge, but that’s taken a lot of time and dedication! I have an excellent mechanical and operations background, with skills in design and fitting and general engineering, including civil, electrical and analytical skills. I’ve then focused my degree in electrical and electronic engineering, with business and project management.

I have always been a part-time studied, so I have had the best knowledge base to work from, with practical skill sets that have been evidently useful in the academic world!

I can now fast forward ten years from when I left full-time education, and aware I’m still in the minority, being a woman in a role, yet, predominantly occupied by males.

Acceptance and culture have changed enormously over time towards females in these roles in industry, and its somewhat of a distant memory when someone asks me if the can speak to an engineer when I answer the phone!

The term engineer, what is the image you create? Overalls and rigger boots? Greasy hands? Yes sometimes, they can be part and parcel of the job, but at large for the job I do, it’s not needed for the day to day running’s.

My previous experience is the design of safety critical solutions and electrical engineering, using the latest PLC technology, working with Siemens, Rockwell and Schneider to name a few, on prestigious projects, worldwide. I have then taken my safety critical knowledge and driven myself to apply this in the rail industry.

I work at Linbrooke Services, within Telecoms for the rail industry. Designing mission-critical solutions. I’m placed in a team of telecoms engineers, some with over 50 years of rail industry experience, designing telecoms systems.

I’m trained in the latest industry practices of Digital communications network and infrastructure services, using 12 ribbon fibre alongside the industry standard 24 Fibre and DISAC cable, as well as Telecommunications for internal and External networks using both copper and fibre networks, and the physical deployment of these.

I’m currently occupied on the upgrade of the CUCM form the life-expired Hi-Path 4000 v1 SPT concentrators, and Nortel Meridian (analogue) and BT Syntegra. This involves migrating the system across to IP based systems that interface with the front-end user through means of Cisco IP phones and IP Trade Turrets, to integrate with the current platforms on CUCM/ Hi-Path V3.

I’m also deployed on the TDM systems renewals on several lines within the Hull regions, upgrading the current GEC and micro core TDM systems to Siemens Westronic 1024 dual-diverse systems. The provision of new FTNx nodes across several sites, including fibre optic cabling for connectivity to the FTNx access layer, and providing requirements for future network and signalling expansions.

In a nutshell, my role is diverse and somewhat multi-disciplinary, and the advancements in technology mean that the work environment changes ensuring I am kept on my toes learning new skills that come with it.

And when I’m not working, I’m a mother and a Sports Coach to our local Netball Team. I love competitive sports and also play Rugby and Hockey alongside my Netball.

I’m Roseanna, a Graduate Design Engineer at Linbrooke Services, working towards my ultimate goal of becoming a chartered engineer.