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David Wasabo on board to blaze digital railway trail

Wasabo will lead the drive towards digital signalling and train control technologies that will be instrumental in boosting capacities on the network

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Wasabo md of Network rail
Wasabo md of Network rail

David Wasabo has been appointed managing director of Network Rail, Digital Railway. Formerly capital programme director at London Underground, Wasabo takes over from Jerry England, who is retiring in June. He will report to Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail.


Waboso has decades of experience in leading major infrastructure projects both in the UK and internationally. At London Underground, he was responsible for spearheading the £1.5bn annual tube upgrade programme in a bid to deliver improved journeys for around four million passengers daily.


In his new role, Wasabo will lead Network Rail’s Digital Railway directorate encompassing the Digital Railway Programme, a cross-industry programme funded and facilitated by Network Rail to boost the capacity of Britain’s rail network using digital signalling and train control technologies.


His experience at London Underground, where he has led upgrading of both trains and infrastructure to digital technology, will prove highly valuable as Network Rail looks to an accelerated programme to roll out similar technologies across Britain’s rail network.


Prior to joining London Underground in 2005, Wasabo was executive director at the Strategic Rail Authority where he was responsible for integrating engineering, safety and standards across the industry and led cross-industry national programmes for new signalling and communications systems. He has also worked for Bechtel and Nichols and played a leading role in the development and subsequent delivery of a number of key upgrades including the Thameslink Programme, Jubilee Line extension and Docklands Light Railway.


“The single biggest challenge for Britain’s railway is how to provide the capacity we need for the future,” said Carne. “Passenger numbers have doubled over the last 20 years and are set to double again over a similar period. Our Railway Upgrade Plan is making a huge difference for passengers, but we need to move further and faster to bring in the kinds of digital technologies that other industries have already shown can provide the capacity gains on existing infrastructure.”


He continued: “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 and I know he will continue Jerry’s excellent work in making sure we have the plans and funding in place to deliver the railway Britain needs for the future.”


In 2014, David Wasabo was awarded a CBE for services to transport in London. He was also recently appointed president of the Association for Project Management.


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