The new Manchester-based weekly is due to launch next month and will cover an area which takes in Carlisle, north Staffordshire, the Welsh border and the High Peak area of Derbyshire, as well as Manchester and Liverpool.
Rachael left the Yorkshire Post in Leeds in September 2004, after 18 months in the role.
She is also a former editor of the Evening Herald in Plymouth and Express & Echo in Exeter, and had joined the Post from The Times.
She will work alongside editor Bob Waterhouse and edit a monthly lifestyle supplement as well as writing features and conducting major interviews for the main paper.
More than 450 people applied for the 17 editorial jobs on the new title, and a number of regional journalists have been recruited.
These include David Prior from the Liverpool Daily Post who will be sports editor, Bradford Telegraph & Argus reporter Jason Teasdale who will be environment correspondent and former Hull Daily Mail journalist Andy McFarlane, who will be government correspondent.
The new title is aimed at people who live in and work in the North West and advertisers who want to reach a wider audience than that offered by more localised titles.
It will be published midweek, with a cover price of £1 and circulation of up to 20,000.