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Thomas the Tank Engine, written in Stroud, 'to blame for lack of female train drivers'

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 27, 2013

Thomas the Tank Engine, written in Stroud, 'to blame for lack of female train drivers'

Thomas the Tank Engine at the Dean Forest Railway

Comments (6)

Thomas the Tank Engine is partly to blame for a 'scandalous' lack of female train drivers, the shadow transport secretary has said.

The lastingly popular children's books - later made into television shows - were written in Rodborough by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry.

Christopher Awdry, Wilbert’s son for whom the books were originally written, subsequently added further books to the series, one including an engine named Wilbert the Forest Engine, which resides at the Dean Forest Railway in the Forest of Dean.

But Labour MP Mary Creagh thinks the stories are part of the reason only 1,000 women are employed as train drivers today, equivalent to 4.2 per cent.

Mrs Creagh said: "In the Thomas the Tank Engine books there are almost no female engines. The only female characters are an annoyance, a nuisance and in some cases a danger to the functioning of the railway.

"There is a preponderance of men in the transport industry and I am very keen to unpack some of the myths that stop women from taking up what are often highly paid and highly skilled jobs."

She did, however, add that Thomas is full of "wonderful stories" and is "incredibly popular".

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  • Kay_Powell  |  December 30 2013, 4:53PM

    Steady on there, Adam. We still remember that you lot elected 'Dubya' - twice!

    Rate   1
  • adam_baum  |  December 28 2013, 4:46PM

    Wow. You have even bigger idiots in government than we do in the U.S.

    Rate   3
  • Kay_Powell  |  December 27 2013, 10:22PM

    When I was a young child, one of my absolutely favourite books was a story called Peter Pull-and-Puff, about a steam engine. The lack of female characters hasn't had an affect on me - at least, I don't think that it has. Or was I supposed to become a train driver, and the lack of female characters in the storybook stopped me?

    Rate   3
  • bonzaharris1  |  December 27 2013, 4:04PM

    Pathetic, Mary Creagh needs to get over herself, my Daughter used to like Thomas the Tank Engine 30 years ago, bit it didn't inspire her to become a train driver. My Grandson is besotted by Thomas the Tank engine, but doesn't mean to say that he will want to be a train driver when he grows up. Lets get real, there are many trades like being a motor mechanic which will be dominated by Men, because not many Women are in the least bit interested in what goes on under the bonnet of a car so long as it goes ... and I am one of them. I should imagine there is a scandalous shortage of men at the helm of a sewing machine stitching knickers or stood behind a beauty counter selling perfume and lipstick, not exactly their thing really which is why you won't find that many. The fact of the matter is that certain trades attract more men and vice versa, I don't see the problem so long as both sexes have the opportunity to apply for positions generally dominated by the opposite of their gender, if they have the right qualifications and that is what they desire. I should imagine Mary Creagh would be devastated to learn that in our household I am the House Tart in charge of cooking and domestics, and Mr Bonza is in charge of gardening and DIY, very old fashioned but we like it that way !!

    Rate   8
  • Apothegm_  |  December 27 2013, 2:18PM

    Mary Creagh, thinks: "I could do with a bit of publicity. How about something inconsequentially fatuous?"

    Rate   7
  • JeremyBadger  |  December 27 2013, 1:48PM

    What a stupid sexist woman, almost as bad as Diane Abbott!

    Rate   8