Paul Maynard MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, has acknowledged the positive safety record on Britain’s railways, but urged industry to retain its focus on key risk areas to make rail even safer.
The Minister was speaking at a Parliamentary Reception organised by RSSB, Network Rail and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), on 13 November.
The event was sponsored by Barry Sheerman MP, chair of PACTS, who made it clear that the RSSB organisation is a template envied across the world for enabling genuine safety insight and improvement.
The reception was well-attended by MPs and peers from across both Houses, including the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Andy McDonald MP, and former chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman MP, among others.
It provided parliamentarians with the opportunity to talk to rail safety experts about some of the key issues including the platform-train interface, trespass and suicide, and level crossings.
On display was some of the latest campaign material including RSSB’s work on pushchair safety, and its latest research showing the high numbers of passengers willing to take risks getting on and off trains.
Network Rail showcased virtual reality technology being used to improve safety at level crossings, and revealed details of its new suicide prevention campaign being launched this week.
The event also heard from RSSB’s chief executive officer Mark Phillips, and Network Rail’s head of passenger and public safety Allan Spence, who confirmed and reinforced the theme of avoiding complacency with continued vigilance of key risk areas, and for industry to continue to work together across company boundaries to bring about further improvements.
RSSB CEO Mark Phillips said: Britain’s railway system is the safest and also the busiest it has ever been. Critical to this ongoing success will be government’s commitment to invest and support rail as a genuine contributor to the economy, society and environment, as well as industry’s agility to meet the needs of passengers and freight customers more safely, and more efficiently. It’s really positive for rail to have the clear endorsement and encouragement from the Minister that he gave today, and we remain on-hand to provide our expertise and insights to support both the railway and to parliamentarians and their teams, so that we can all benefit from better safety, sustainability and service, and reduced cost and risk.