Connected Leaders

The overall purpose of this programme is to make the railways work better as a system in the interests of passengers, freight customers and the UK as a whole.

“Britain’s railways face challenges like never before. However, I hope we all agree that a prosperous, decarbonised and connected Britain, demands a highly efficient rail system. As leaders in our sector, we hold the keys to unlocking the potential of our railway, by growing a modern network that delivers for our customers and passengers.”

Andrew Haines

Network Rail Chief Executive, January 2023

Photograph of Jacqueline Starr

“Covid-19 has seen many challenges for the railway, but it also presents an opportunity to do things differently and accelerate the reform that industry leaders have long been calling for to create a better railway for our customers.

The aftermath of the pandemic should see our leaders promote and implement change that will encourage a more diverse and inclusive railway which represents the customers we are here to serve, and attracts more people to travel by train.”

Jacqueline Starr

Rail Delivery Group Chief Executive, January 2021

What are the aims for
participating leaders?

Over the course of the programme leaders will

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Identify shared challenges, collaborating to drive systematic improvement across the whole sector for the customer.

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Develop real insights into how the rail industry works, understanding how the different parts contribute to operational effectiveness.

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Build a trusted network of peers, establishing the sustainable relationships needed to meet future challenges.

What kind of people
are in the initial cohorts?

Participants are senior leaders from every part of the rail sector.

They are managing directors, chief executive officers and senior directors from Network Rail, train operating companies, the Department for Transport, the large Supply Chain organisations and industry bodies.

All of the individuals have significant influence and decision making responsibilities.

What it is...

A collective and collaborative programme that brings leaders together with purpose.

A positive response to multiple calls for a whole-system approach to running the railway.

A vehicle for leaders to come together on a regular basis, have shared experiences, identify collective challenges, and work collaboratively to resolve them.

A powerful way of reinforcing our emerging industry ethos of putting passengers first and building a culture of service excellence through the decisions and actions we take.

Recognition that rail leaders are part of a complex system with multiple interdependencies, operating in a rapidly changing landscape and sharing a common goal - operating a safe, reliable railway that delivers on its promises to passengers and freight users.

A way for leaders to develop real insights into the work of other organisations, appreciating how each contributes to an effective railway and how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

A chance to test out solutions to real problems, learn quickly and spread good practice across the industry.

An opportunity for leaders to build a trusted network of peers, establishing the sustainable relationships needed to meet future challenges.

Something that is “done by” leaders for their service, their people and their passengers/freight users.

What it is not...

An individual leadership development programme.

A substitute for the existing high-quality leadership programmes running in different industry organisations.

An academic or theoretical programme leading to a qualification.

A talking shop.

People listening to lectures/being taught.

Linked to the Apprenticeship levy.

A sheep-dip with each group of participants having exactly the same experience.

A set of fixed outcomes/targets to be achieved.

Internally focused on any one company’s issues.

Something that is “done to” leaders.

Programme Map

Cohorts of 24 leaders from across the rail sector working together over approximately 16 months

Whole cohort experiences

Virtual sessions and real-life events

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Working on industry challenges

Systems thinking, industry challenges, GBR and Rail reform

Online resources

These will be built over time

Leadership briefing packs
on key knowledge areas

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Industry papers, current articles,
thought leadership pieces

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Access to chat rooms and
social learning options

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Knowledge areas

These will be covered through both Cohort experiences and Online resources

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Rail Operations

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Safety and
Service Culture

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Rail Political

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Innovation and

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Driving Customer