Head of Rolling Stock Engineering

  • Job Reference: JOB-8598
  • Date Posted: 14 September 2022
  • Location: Rugby, Warwickshire, England
  • Salary: £70,000 to £80,000
  • Sector: Rolling Stock
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Ford & Stanley Executive Search – Specialists in Executive Interim and Permanent appointments to the UK & European Rail Industries, have been retained on the search for a Head of Rolling Stock Engineering on behalf of our client Colas Rail.

Client Opportunity Quote Capture:

“This is not your typical ‘Head of Engineering’ role – it offers a variety of touch points, challenges and remit across engineering, operations, supply chain’

“Managing fleets from heritage locos to state-of-the-art class 70’s – technical challenge is a given…”

“RAMS is paramount, we lease and operate 24/7 across the UK network – we can’t have loco’s stood still, not for long at least…” 

“The reason for hiring is because the incumbent has progressed into a directorship role which is a testament to our focus on growth and development of our people”

Purpose of the Role:

Manage the safety, maintenance, reliability, and availability of the Colas Rail traction & rolling stock fleets to agreed Availability/Reliability KPI’s and budgets

Candidate Essentials:

  • Rolling Stock Experience Essential. Will consider candidates from all rolling stock specialisms to include Passenger, Freight, LOCO/Wagons or Light Rail.
  • Systems electrical/mechanical engineering background required be it QBE or HND/HNC/Degree.
  • Candidates can be a keen up-and-comer or an experienced ‘Head of’.
  • Ability to manage and lead a team, this candidate will be heading up performance, people and change. The ideal candidate will need to provide a demonstrable track record and experience of this.
  • Cost and Budget Management Experience in addition to technical / report writing abilities.
  • Client facing with ability to communicate effectively at all levels (Technical Teams, Projects, Clients, Stakeholders etc)
  • Ability to work to a high degree of autonomy and lead the team forward.
  • Must be competent in Microsoft power point, Presentation and Excel.

Good to know:

Ford & Stanley’s Search Director and the Freight Director met to discuss and scope the requirement together which formed the basis of this opportunity brief.

  • Candidates must be from a Rolling Stock Engineering background but open to heavy or light rail and everything in between. We are open to those from TOC’s, FOC’s, Manufacturers, Overhallers – A well rounded electro-mechanical rolling stock engineer.
  • Open to either an ‘up and comer’ in the industry OR an established Head of .
  • Candidate must have a flexible attitude towards work, although work-life balance is offered and encouraged Colas run a 24/7 operation.
  • The Head of Traction and Rolling Stock currently has 6 direct reports and 22 indirect reports. There is scope and remit to grow this team.
  • Leadership and Management - we need someone who will lead the team and who has a track record of managing, building and engaging a team.
  • A true 360 role that will of course be heading up the performance, people and change of the engineering team but also manage cross functional departments such as procurement, supply chain and safety.
  • 35 hour working week, role is based in Rugby, it is expected that the successful candidate will operate 2 days a week on site, 1 day a week at satellite depots around the country and 2 days a week on the road, client side – this role is heavily client facing/focussed as much as it is operationally present on site.
  • The Head of Traction and Rolling Stock will also be required to present a safety tour/brief once a month.
  • 2 stage interview process. 1st stage Face to Face on site with Head of HR, Freight Director and Delivery Manager. Final Stage face to face with Head of HR, Freight Director and the CEO, a presentation will be required.
  • This role is responsible for leading the development and performance of all activities within the Traction and Rolling Stock team.
  • There is a detailed job specification available upon request.

*Role has been retained indefinitely with Ford & Stanley Executive Search who will be managing all direct and indirect interest.

Principal Accountabilities:

  • Overall management of Colas Rail T&RS fleet, to ensure the safety and operational requirements are fully met.
  • Represent Colas Rail at industry and supplier meetings
  • Manage Engineering suppliers to ensure contracts are in place and ensure agreed standards are met.
  • Work with the Head of Operations, Senior Head of Planning, Locomotive Resource Manager, Head of Rail Freight Logistics and Regional Operations Managers to ensure Locomotives and Wagons availability meets business requirements
  • Chair morning Freight Engineering conference calls.
  • Compile fleet incident, failure and performance reports.
  • Ensure costs meet budgetary requirements and working with the Head of Delivery regarding recruitment, staff succession management and equality.
  • Compile performance and sustainability statistics; managing the effectiveness, performance and reliability of the fleet to agreed KPIs
  • Liaise with the Head of Engineering & Compliance regarding engineering compliance and standards, including the writing and review of Vehicle Maintenance Instructions.
  • Ensure Control Centre staff are briefed and have a full understanding on the maintenance requirements and fault reporting, as required
  • Liaise with third party depot owners/operators regarding access agreements and safe methods of work.
  • Ensure the delivery of a safe, reliable and cost-effective fleet, providing innovation by actively thinking of smarter and more efficient ways of delivering contracts.


  • Low £72k, Mid £76k, High £82k
  • 20% Bonus
  • Car allowance £9,500
  • Pension 5% employee, 6% employer
  • 26 days holiday +8 stat
  • Sick Pay
  • Medical Insurance
  • Annual salary reviews
  • Death in service 4x annual salary
  • Flexible benefits scheme


About Ford & Stanley Executive Search – Specialist Head-hunters to the UK & European Rail Industries.

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive Rail companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy UK Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination.