Casey would work as a hairdresser for 27 years, but increasingly she found herself seriously considering a career in rail. “As I reached my early adulthood and living in North Queensland seeing cane trains day in and day out, I would often think to myself…how cool would it be to drive a train…not ever imagining I would be given the opportunity that I have with Pacific National.”
In early 2022, Casey made an initial application to become a trainee driver with Pacific National. She was then interviewed online and underwent psychometric assessments.
Casey says her experience as a trainee was exciting. “Going back into the classroom after 29 years was a bit daunting but I soon settled in with the other trainees in my class. Initially there was a lot of theory to understand and learn, but the classroom was often fun and interactive especially when the questions that were asked generated a good discussion. Our teacher was fantastic, he had a comprehensive knowledge of the rail industry, and while most of us had no background in rail we were reassured by his guidance and teaching. We spent a few weeks in the classroom learning first aid, how to safely access the rail corridor, communication and emergency procedures before we were sent out to our home depots.”
During the rotations at the depot, Casey learnt how to start up both electric and diesel locomotives. “Getting to learn all about these incredible machines, how they operate and the feeling of being in a locomotive is amazing and so exciting. There is always a strong focus on safety; making sure my workmates and I go home safely everyday is always top of mind.”
"My kids think it is super cool that mummy drives big trains. They are all a big part of me grabbing this opportunity with both hands and succeeding. They are all so proud of me and what I do."
Her family are totally on board. “Without the support of my husband and his encouragement assuring me that I can do this and that I will become a great train driver, I honestly don’t think I would be where I am or have the confidence I have found. My kids think it is super cool that mummy drives big trains. They are all a big part of me grabbing this opportunity with both hands and succeeding. They are all so proud of me and what I do.
As a mother and stepmother, Casey has found shift work to be of benefit to her family. “Many people consider shift work to be a downfall but for me I actually really enjoy it because you get regular time off to be there for your kids. I also enjoy the sleep ins and I’ve even found it helps me have more time to go for a walk, catch up with friends and spend time making candles which is one of my hobbies.”
Long term, Casey says her goal is to be the best train driver she can be and hopes for a long career in rail. “Eventually I would like to become a mentor driver and pass on my experience to other trainees who come into the industry, as I know how invaluable the support and knowledge of my mentor driver has been to me as a trainee.”
Casey feels that the amount of opportunity for growth and development, learning new skills and flexibility are all positive aspects of a career in rail, and says she would recommend it to others who are looking to make a job change.