Go back to article: Uncovering the secrets of Canadian Pacific


Canadian Pacific is known as being the oldest and fastest surviving Merchant Navy class locomotive in preservation, but she hides a secret: she was built in 1941 at Eastleigh Works, Hampshire, where about half of the workforce were female. While she now stands as a testament of the work of these female engineers who were employed on the railway during the Second World War, their achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the long history of women working on the railway as early as 1840. The First World War opened up the opportunities available to women on the railway, throwing them into areas previously only occupied by men. Women fought prejudice to show that they were capable workers in the fields that were opened to them, but it all came to an end in peacetime when women were forced back into ‘female’ jobs. The Second World War again brought about change, with women being employed in more roles than ever before.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/181010/001