David Waboso CBE, capital programmes director at London Underground, is to join Network Rail as managing director, Digital Railway.
Waboso will lead the Digital Railway Programme designed to boost the capacity of Britain’s rail network using digital signalling and train control technologies.
The internationally renowned engineer and project manager started his career in road construction after gaining degrees in civil engineering at Coventry University and Imperial College London. Then he changed direction and became a maths teacher in Stoke Newington, a tough area of London. The experience, he later said, taught him the value of good communications.
‘I have always been comfortable with the spoken word,’ he said. Good communications, he argues, are essential to any career in engineering.
A passionate rugby player, David Waboso was advised by a school master at the Crypt School, Gloucester, to go for civil engineering and work on dams, rivers and railways. Initially David worked for two years on water supply and transportation projects in Nigeria – his father was one of the country’s leading gynaecologists. Nigeria introduced him to railways.
Back in Britain in 1990, he joined The Nichols Group and went to work on the DLR upgrade, Jubilee Line Extension, West Coast Route Modernisation and TPWS. He led a cross-industry team delivering the ERTMS implementation plan.
A Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering, he is already a keen supporter of the digital railway. Replacing old technology, particularly signalling, is essential to increasing capacity and reducing cost. Eventually intelligent signalling and train control will be sited on board.
Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, did not take long to work this out after taking the job two years ago. He sees Waboso’s role as crucial to driving forward the digital railway. ‘Attracting someone of David’s talent highlights the progress we have made and our determination to use technology to unlock capacity on Britain’s congested network. I look forward to working with him.’
David Waboso was recently appointed president of the Association for Project Management. He was awarded a CBE in 2014 for services to transport in London and the infrastructure leader prize in the UK Black British Business Awards. He starts at Network Rail in June, taking over from the much respected Jerry England, who is a big supporter of the Railway Children, and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010. Jerry has announced he will be retiring once the handover is complete.
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