Luke Gardner, a Manchester-based Timetable Development and Delivery Manager celebrated during TPE Week of Inclusion

Manchester-based Timetable Development and Delivery Manager celebrated during TPE Week of Inclusion

A TransPennine Express (TPE) employee based in Manchester has had their story celebrated as part of TPE’s first Week of Inclusion.

Luke Gardner, Timetable Development and Delivery Manager, outlined his inspiring story in a video as TPE continued its Week of Inclusion which has seen the train company celebrate diversity and embrace the individuality of its employees and customers.

Luke has worked for TPE for 12 years and, when he first started, was nervous about how his sexuality would play out within the company.

Despite his initial concerns, Luke soon discovered TPE is supportive of LGBTQ+ community and encourages employees to be themselves each and every day.

Luke said: “Every day you find yourself in moments where you must come out to new people, colleagues and friends. It’s nerve-wracking joining a new job, but TPE made me feel so welcome and embraced my sexuality.

“We have a fantastic LGBTQ+ networking group to help support members of the community who work at TPE, and it’s fantastic to see members progress through the ranks to managerial positions, showing that whatever your sexuality, nothing can hold you back.”

TPE believes in equality and inclusion for everyone and aims to create a welcoming environment for customers and colleagues.

More than nine per cent of TPE employees identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual or other sexualities, a much higher percentage than the census average of three per cent for England and Wales.

Harriet Harbidge, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at TPE, said: “We’re so excited to celebrate our first Week of Inclusion and highlight some of the incredible colleagues we have, such as Luke, who make a real difference to TPE.

Luke’s story comes hot on the heels of the unveiling of TPE’s Nova 1 ‘Unity’ train, featuring the most up to date Pride Progress Flag, which is now set to travel throughout the North and into Scotland, becoming a beacon of hope for the millions of diverse communities TPE serves.

Harriet added: “Launching the ‘Unity Train’ was a perfect way to kickstart the week. Speaking to our LGBTQ+ network group we know how important it is to our colleagues and the communities we serve, that this train is now in service.”

To mark the week, TPE also announced a partnership with The Proud Trust, an LGBT+ youth charity empowering young people to be proud of who they are.

Lisa Harvey Nebil, CEO of The Proud Trust, said: “Seeing the ‘Unity Train’ in all its glory fills myself and our team with huge pride and we can’t wait for the LGBT+ community to see the train as it travels throughout the North.

“We’ve already received fantastic support from TPE and we’re looking forward to doing more inspiring work together.”

Notes to editors

To download a video of Luke detailing his story click here: TransPennine Express Luke’s story on Vimeo