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Mona Sihota

Mona Sihota

network technical head, drainage and lineside, Network Rail


Design, Water, Construction


United Kingdom
My highlights

Holding senior management roles at Network Rail over the past 8 years 

Representing Network Rail with internal and external stakeholders

Influencing the drainage and lineside community consisting of 2,600 staff members

A day in my life

Consists of...


Leading and guiding on various projects and challenges, and supporting the team in the delivery of:

  • process
  • tools
  • technology projects
  • national assurance and investigations
  • competence development
  • benchmarking
  • strategy
  • policy development

Project solving or proposing new and creative approaches to meet demands and challenges on drainage and lineside assets (such as climate change, extreme weather, environment diseases, etc.).

Enabling my team with leadership by providing them with the intention and overall direction of where Network Rail needs to go next.

All while leading on today’s challenges and opportunities around blue (drainage), green (vegetation/trees) and grey (boundaries, access facilities and pathways) infrastructure.

Improving and raising the profile of the community to support positive culture change.

I would recommend a career in civil engineering because civil engineering serves people and society. Civil engineering infrastructure is for civilians, and what we do, create and build is for the public. 

Which individual project or person inspired you to become a civil engineer?

When I was an engineering intern in California, I worked on a new build light rail transportation project.  I fell in love with civil engineering and the railway that summer of 1989. 

We asked Mona…

Complete this phrase: I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also…

An asset manager.

What’s the biggest/most complex thing you’ve made out of Lego? How long did it take you?

I recreated the drainage and lineside asset groups on the railway and did a national conference welcome video for the drainage and lineside community at Network Rail.

The build took me 3 weeks and the stop motion video took two days. So much fun to do.

What about being a civil engineer gets you out of bed each morning?

I enjoy solving problems and making things a little bit better every day. 

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

The collaboration and cross-discipline problem solving is so fascinating and contains a learning opportunity in every project.

I’ve picked up so much from my colleagues and other asset engineers while working on multidiscipline projects. I’m now learning so much more on sustainability and the environment.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

I’m a big fan of ancient history and thoroughly enjoy world heritage sites. I would’ve loved to work with the ancient Romans as they built the Library of Celsus in Ephesus (in modern Turkey). 

Name one civil engineering myth you’d like to bust.

Drainage isn't sexy… yes it is! 

Mona's career path


  • Master of Science, Civil Engineering, major in transportation (1996, San Jose State University, California)
  • Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering (1994, San Jose State University, California)
  • Minor Degree in Humanities (1994, San Jose State University, California)
  • Asset Management Certification (2016, The Institute of Asset Management)


  • Engineering intern 1989-1992, USA
  • Junior engineer 1992-1994, USA
  • Assistant engineer 1994-1995, USA
  • Transportation analyst 1995, USA
  • Resident engineer 1995-2001, USA
  • Project administrator 2002-2003, UK
  • Construction engineer, 2003-2005, UK
  • Construction assurance engineer, 2005-2009, UK
  • Senior validation and verification engineer, 2009-2013, UK
  • Principal engineer (track and civils), 2013-2014, UK
  • Acting head of track and civils, 2014-2015, UK
  • Professional head of drainage, 2015-2018, UK
  • Professional head of drainage, lineside and ASPR, 2018-2021, UK
  • Network technical head, drainage and lineside, 2021-present, UK

Major projects

National role in Network Rail with over 22,000km of railway.