New York-based Alex Lu has recently upgraded to CIRO “Member” level proving transferable knowledge between international rail industries.  

As Alex Lu sits down on an early morning virtual call to discuss the membership upgrade, he reflects on his knowledge of the industry and how working in the rail industries of Scotland, England and the US has helped keep him up to speed with industry patterns.  

“I wanted to become a Member of CIRO to, partly, stay in touch with the UK rail industry in a hands-on way. There were many exciting things happening in the UK, like the electrification of the Edinburgh-Glasgow route and the many suburban lines that have re-opened in Scotland. In fact, I remember the latter as a proposed scheme from my Railtrack days. 

“In my day-to-day project manager role in New York I’m not always able to stay up to date on British rail news like I used to be.” Lu jokes: “I should really re-subscribe to RAIL magazine!” 

During the upgrade process, Alex notes that there weren’t any notable challenges he faced or hoops to jump through. Not because the process isn’t thorough, but because of CIRO’s assistance and digital-first hub for reference and advice.  

“The help I got from Fiona Banks and Carolyn Hughes during my upgrade process was fantastic,” Alex says. “There’s a time difference with being based in New York, not only did they provide relevant information to questions but replied to my email enquiries the same workday.” 

“It was perfect for me with the time difference, when the events and seminars were taking place, it was around midday here. I turned my break into a learning lunch.” 

Upgrading at this time seemed like an obvious choice for Alex who said that while he didn’t necessarily need letters or an accreditation to feel valued in the industry, it would be nice to get a little recognition.  

“I am something of a traditionalist and don’t generally like or need letters after my name, but I asked myself: ‘if I wanted to belong to a professional organisation, which one would best represent my approach towards my tradecraft?’” 

That’s where CIRO’s four membership levels and access to continued professional development resources thrive. CIRO’s resources are a multifaceted hub of potential for rail professionals.  

Now, though, it’s time for Alex to inspire the next generation of CIRO members to move up the membership ranking ladder. He reflects on the process with pride and recommends the upgrade. 

“If you have appropriate and sufficient experience, upgrading is the right thing to do.  It shows solidarity with others in our craft of railway operators, it indicates a commitment to our community standards, and it is a signal to others of who we are and what we stand for.” 

“If you are new to the craft and are at a relatively junior level, the process of upgrading will help you with two aspects. In understanding the vastly different knowledge areas required of railway systems operators from safety to finance and regulatory compliance to customer care. It can help you acquire the skills needed to analyse requirements, improve yourself to the point of being confident in those demands, and pitch yourself as a viable candidate exceeding expectations. 

CIRO memberships are an ideal way to develop your rail industry knowledge and career.