David Waboso

David Waboso

Formerly MD of Digital Railway Team at Network Rail

Country UK

Specialisms Project management, water, digital

Career highlights

A day in my life

This could involve lots of pre-reading and preparation/phone calls, prior to attending or chairing meetings. I find the greatest value we can give is by spending time with my teams and talking through challenges and sorting out issues and mentoring/supporting younger engineers and project managers through sharing experience.

My career inspiration 

As a schoolboy, I was inspired by a lifelong family friend and civil engineer to pursue a career in civil engineering.

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I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also  ... a project manager, a digital champion, a mentor, and most importantly a husband and father.

David Waboso CBE

Former MD of Digital Railway Team at Network Rail

What I love about being a civil engineer (that I didn’t know before I became one)

How much it relies on teamwork and lots of different companies collaborating.

The civil engineering myth I’d like to bust

It’s male-dominated and family-unfriendly. Now civil engineering is inclusive and supports flexible working.

I’d recommend a career in civil engineering because

You’ll make a huge, positive difference to the world.

The project, past or present, I wish I'd worked on

 The first tube construction in the 1850s.

What gets me out of bed every morning?

Challenges! Challenges! 

My major projects

The DLR extension in London

The Jubilee Line extension in London

Projects for the European Rail Agency

World Bank-funded infrastructure projects in Africa

Upgrading the 70-year-old signalling system for the Metropolitan, District, Circle, and Hammersmith & City tube lines

Tube station upgrades to Victoria, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, and Bank

The Victoria, Jubilee and Northern Line upgrades  

Education

Studied civil engineering at Coventry University then Imperial College London.

My engineering degree meant I had an aptitude for mathematics, so I initially became a maths teacher at a school in East London. I have some incredible memories that helped build my confidence in addressing large and challenging audiences.

I then joined Arup, which was constructing the Essex section of the M25, followed by other engineering firms including Nichols Group, and Bechtel.

In 2003, I was asked to join the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) as its technical director. Representing the UK at the European Rail Agency proved useful in understanding the thought processes elsewhere.

I joined London Underground (LU) as the director of engineering, a first job being to manage the replacement of the ‘temporary’ signalling on the Jubilee line. Another challenge was ‘cooling the Tube’ as more trains result in more energy dissipated and rising temperatures.

I also had responsibility for other line upgrades including the Victoria line and station upgrades, including Victoria, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Bank, all of which used innovative procurement that incentivised value not just cost. For all this work on LU, I was awarded a CBE in 2014.

My hobbies

I have a passion for training and education, having served on committees focusing on the teaching of STEM subjects in schools.

Promoting opportunities for people of all backgrounds to realise their full potential in engineering and other professions.

An avid rugby fan (previously a player), gardening, walking, music (I play guitar).

The most complex thing I’ve made out of Lego

A model bridge. It took a few hours – it wasn’t a complex one.

I want to become a civil engineer.

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