Rail Expert Q&A: David Allen - Rail Divisional Manager


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2018 is proving an exciting time to be a part of Samuel Knight Rail. In this weeks blog, we managed to catch up with Divisional Manager David Allen, to find out his thoughts on how the year is shaping up so far for both the Rail industry and Samuel Knight...


How would you sum up the first 4 months of 2018 for both Samuel Knight and the Rail industry generally?

It has been a good start for Samuel Knight. We built a lot of new relationships through 2017, and it’s nice to see those efforts paying off now.  Our team is ready for it’s next hiring phase.

We work across Infrastructure & Rolling Stock.

Infrastructure is as busy now as it has  been in all my time at Samuel Knight. That’s  exciting, because we are at the end of Network Rail’s control period – once the new cycle starts it will be even busier.

Rolling Stock has driven our teams growth in 2018.  We hired well for that part of our business, and we are expecting customer demand to increase. It’s very competitive.

What are some of the key hiring trends you’re seeing both internationally and in the UK across Rolling Stock and Infrastructure?

Our clients are becoming more  flexible in the way they work, the industry is a pretty quick moving one, and drawn out processes including many  different people can mean missing out on the right candidate.

A lot of our clients are now  issuing roles exclusively to their suppliers, that gets more buy-in from our side, and it gives the client a much better service.

How has Samuel Knight adapted over the last couple of years to changes we’ve seen in the industry, as large projects started to wind down?

We are lucky as a Rail team that we have the support of our Directors to be adaptive to market conditions – we’ve got out on the road and made new relationships, expanded into Rolling Stock and have new clients all over the world, not just here in the UK.

CP5 has seen focuses on increased connectivity in London, mainlines electrification work and a host of signalling and station upgrades. As CP6 arrives, how do you think spending will be distributed and what projects are you most looking forward to?

A portion of the CP6 funding will go towards CP5 projects which have gone over-budget. There are a lot of big questions over Electrification works which have stalled – and many of the smaller CP5 frameworks which were postponed will be looking to start up.

There’ll be an election & Brexit during CP6 , and as we’ve seen a few times in CP5, things are rarely set in stone when it comes to spend.  We work as supply experts across  all aspects of Rail Infrastructure, so we'll make sure we're ready, come what may.

 Why should clients and candidates choose Samuel Knight Rail?

The team here are the best I’ve  worked with – we have really talented consultants who have lots of strong relationships all across the Rail industry.  Some of the  client & candidate recommendations we receive are amazing!

As I mentioned earlier, we are incredibly  flexible in the way we work. This means we can fit into the recruitment process our clients already use, or we can shape a bespoke way of working to suit their business.  When it comes to candidates, we are 24/7.

Samuel Knight is currently looking to grow the Rail team. Why is it an exciting time to join the company?

It’s an exciting time for the whole company. We’ve grown so much from when we started and we now look like a business that’s been around for decades.  The fact we’re not settling and still  have our foot on the accelerator should be exciting for anyone who wants a great career in recruitment.

In Rail, we have opportunities to join our  Infrastructure & Rolling Stock teams – we have hot desks for consultants,  and they’d  be  joining a business  supporting anyone who wants to grow & build a team around themselves (apply now).


Are you looking for your next rail opportunity? You can get in touch with David by calling +44 (0) 191 481 3620. Alternatively, you can see our latest jobs here or quickly upload your CV by clicking here.


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