Richard Eric Wightman was born in 1960. He joined British Rail: Eastern Region as a Management Trainee in the King's Cross Division in 1981. He worked as a Traffic Manager in Hitchen from 1983 and in Woking from 1985. In 1987 he became a Traffic Planning Assistant in Railfreight Construction. He joined Other Provincial Services/Regional Railways in Norwich from 1989 to 1991 as Retail Manager. He moved on to become a Quality Manager in Regional Railways Great Eastern during 1991. From 1992 he was Retail Manager at Regional Railways West Midlands until 1994. During privatisation, he worked as National Passenger Manager for Railtrack between 1994 and 1995, he then became Account Executive for Railtrack in Kent until 1997. He then joined the Strategy Team at Railtrack Headquarters until 1999 and then was appointed Head of Passenger for Railtrack, serving in that capacity until 2003.