Train named after WES past president on INWED

On International Women in Engineering Day 2023, Southeastern, the railway company serving Kent Sussex and Southeast London honoured engineering trailblazer, Kent-born Verena Holmes, the first woman to become an elected member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and past president of the Women’s Engineering Society.

Verena was arguably the first female in the UK to have a full-time career as a professional mechanical engineer. She was also a strong advocate for women in engineering and was dedicated to the development of her fellow female engineers. She set up her own all-female engineering firm in 1946 after working on naval weaponry during World War Two.

Verena was the President of the Women in Engineering Society in 1931, and our Chief Executive, Elizabeth Donnelly, was on hand at the ceremony. She said:

“We are absolutely delighted that Southeastern has chosen to name one of their trains after the past President of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Verena Holmes. It is especially fitting that this honour has been unveiled on International Women in Engineering Day, celebrated every year on the 23 June the date of both the founding of WES and the day Verena was born.

“Verena was a champion of Women Engineers throughout her career and in 1931 she became the first woman member elected to Institution of Locomotive Engineers, so we are incredibly pleased to see her honoured in this way.”

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