Rachel Heath, IRO member.

Rachel Heath
Depot Manager, Network Rail

Rachel is the Programme Manager HS2, S&C North Alliance (formerly Depot Manager Network Rail) and she is a member of the IRO and chair of the IRO Midlands area council.

We caught up with her in Birmingham to find out more about why she joined the Institution and what it has to offer her.


Tell us more about when and why you decided to join the IRO as a member?

In 2011 I started in the performance team for CrossCountry Trains having previously worked as a Train Manager with them for 8 years. In that new role I decided that it was time for me to focus on my professional development, so I did some research and asked a few colleagues about how best to do this. I soon came across the IRO and attended my first Midlands Area event.

For me, the events were (and still are!) a great opportunity to meet people from different business and learn from their experiences. I became a regular attendee of the Midlands Area events and the rest is history!

You’re now Chair of the Midlands Area, and prior to that you were the Events Coordinator. How did you come to join the Council?

My first interaction with the IRO was through the Midlands Area events and, after a short while, I was given the opportunity to start organising events myself. I had made quite a few contacts in my previous roles, and it was good to be able to invite these professionals from across the industry to give a presentation or offer a company visit to members of the Midlands Area.

As well as your work as Chair of the Midlands Area Council, you’re also in the middle of planning an upgrade to your membership level of the Institution. Can you tell us why you have decided to upgrade? 

Firstly, I believe that it shows that you’re committing yourself to something extra outside of your everyday work responsibilities. It requires you to take the lead on your own professional development and be wiling to work on the areas you need to improve.

Secondly, this upgrade will better reflect my current experience and knowledge of railway operations which can only help my career prospects for the future.

Finally, why would you recommend that railway operators join the IRO?

There are so many benefits that come with being a member, but the regular opportunity to meet like-minded people and network with a variety of people is a great reason to get involved. Networking with people from across the industry allows you to see out of your own silo and keep learning from others.

There are free events to attend across the UK on a monthly basis, so whether you’ve worked in the industry for a few decades or a few days, there’s something for everyone.


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