Senior railway engineer encourages more women to join the industry she loves: Lianna Barrow

Wednesday 23 Jun 2021

Senior railway engineer encourages more women to join the industry she loves

Region & Route:
Eastern: Anglia

One of Network Rail’s senior engineers, who is leading on making the railway better for the Anglia region, wants to encourage other women to consider jobs in the rail industry, as part of International Women in Engineering Day (Wednesday 23 June).

Lianna Barrow is a senior programme manager for the Anglia route which covers Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and East London. She leads a team which makes improvements to infrastructure such as track, overhead wires, buildings, structures and bridges to make the railway more reliable, efficient and punctual for passengers.

Speaking about her journey into engineering, Lianna said: “My sister was the first female engineer in her company but I never felt that there were careers for men and careers for women, it was just about finding something that I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life.

“I thought about doing something environmental but as I searched for courses, I came across Civil and Environmental Engineering and decided on that, so even though I tried to avoid engineering, it seemed as though it was my destiny.”

Lianna comes from a family of engineers and even though she wanted to do something different, she ended up choosing a career in engineering and hasn’t looked back. Lianna worked for highways before moving to the railway doing various roles in engineering and project management. Her first experience of the railway was working on High Speed before working on projects like East West Rail and Birmingham New Street station. Following that, she started working for Network Rail’s Anglia route as a senior asset engineer and route asset manager for buildings & civils.

On encouraging women into engineering roles, Lianna adds: “Women should do whatever job they want and what makes them happy and once you become an engineer you leave your mark on the world.  Engineers are pivotal to everyday life and it is a very rewarding career whether it is supporting people’s journeys as I do, or designing the buildings in which they live and work – society needs engineers.”

Network Rail continues to increase the number of women in leadership positions and provide equal opportunities. In April, the organisation was named a Times Top 50 Employer for Women, which is a testament to the progress made to improve diversity and become a more inclusive employer in what is traditionally, and remains, a male-dominated industry.

Network Rail’s careers website lists all opportunities, including apprenticeships and graduate programmes -

For more information about International Women in Engineering Day visit:

Contact information

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Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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