Cooperation for railway safety
Through Great British Railways (GBR) the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail aims to put customers at the heart of its mission. These are the people who benefit from the railways: the passengers and freight customers that rely on trains for getting from A to B. They will use the services offered by passenger and freight train operators.
Train operators rely on infrastructure managers, such as Network Rail, to provide them with the track and stations to run services. Manufacturers and rolling stock owners build and supply the trains, which the train operators buy or lease from the rolling stock owners. All of this is supported by a huge supply chain of maintainers, plant and component manufacturers and suppliers, assessment bodies, consultants, and specialists.
Each of these players has its own specific safety responsibilities, but they also need to collaborate effectively to ensure a safe railway system is maintained.
Supporting them is a range of other industry bodies and organisations including: RSSB, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
Rail Industry Bodies and Organisations
RSSB is the independent safety, standards and research body for Great Britain’s rail network. We help to make an evolving railway safer, more efficient and more sustainable. We provide clear and honest advice based on assessment of the data, analysis, research, and findings that we produce.
RSSB was set up to fulfil a recommendation by Lord Cullen in his Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry report, following an accident in 1999. RSSB is a not-for-profit company owned by major industry stakeholders (our members). Our constitution is such that no one commercial interest can influence our work for its own benefit.
As a result, our collective efforts help to optimise costs for passengers and taxpayers, and reduce risk for passengers, the workforce, and the wider public.
We enable and inform safety leadership, and:
- assesses whole system risk
- provide tools, guidance, standards, analysis, and research
- oversee industry delivery of, and inform on progress against, its health and safety strategy, Leading Health and Safety on Britain's Railway (LHSBR)
- facilitate industry's safety collaboration arrangements
- advise on good safety management.
Office of Rail and Road
The ORR is the health and safety regulator and enforcement authority for the railway. Its role is to make sure that the health and safety of everyone associated with the rail industry is protected. ORR’s contribution to safety leadership is to supervise and enforce. It:
- certifies and authorises safety certificates (needed to operate on the mainline railway)
- supervises industry safety management systems
- advises on legislative requirements
- develops, monitors, and reinforces the regulatory framework.
For further information visit the ORR website.
Rail Accident Investigation Branch
Carries out independent investigation of railway accidents. As a result it:
- enables lessons to be learned to improve safety on the railway
- makes recommendations for railway duty holders and other railway organisations, including RSSB.
The ORR ensures that RAIB recommendations are implemented.
For further information visit the RAIB website.
Rail Delivery Group
RDG is an industry leadership body that embraces the passenger train operator and freight train operator groups, and Network Rail. RDG aligns and coordinates its members to lead on safety effectively. It supports:
- passenger and freight operators to meet their LHSBR collaboration arrangements
- safety leadership across the industry to implement its safety strategy.
As the industry transitions to Great British Railways (GBR), some of the skills and expertise within RDG will be drawn into GBR. Others have, or will, join Rail Partners. Rail Partners is a group made up of the holding companies that own the private sector companies that deliver passenger and freight services, which will become the body that represents the companies that will deliver GB’s rail services.
For further information visit the RDG website.
The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network is a partnership organisation. It brings together academics, suppliers, inventors, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. It fosters collaboration and opportunity to open the route to market for new technologies and products.
UKRRIN has three Centres of Excellence, each itself a partnership of universities that specialise in the innovation, development, and testing of: digital systems, rolling stock, and infrastructure.
For further information visit the UKRRIN website.
Rail Partners was formed in May 2022 to represent the owning groups that run the passenger and freight train services in Great Britain. Its aim is to harness expertise and creativity from the private sector for the benefit of rail customers and taxpayers.
For further information visit the Rail Partners website.
Great British Railways Transition Team
GBRTT are working on behalf of the government to create a new organisation that will bring together decisions about track and train, provide accountable leadership, and lead the railway forward.
For further information visit the GBRTT website.
Leading on Health and Safety in Rail
In its role as a safety leader for Britain’s railway, RSSB supports members’ as they address the safety challenges laid out in the industry’s safety strategy ‘Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway’. In support of rail industry members, as well as fostering internal collaboration, RSSB works with a range of organisations to advance better practices in safety management.
Some of the organisations we work with:Department for Transport Rail
Driving for Better Business (Highways England)
Office of Rail and Road
Rail Delivery Group
Railway Industry Association
Transport for London
Transport for Wales
Transport Scotland (Rail)
UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN)
Herriot Watt University—Railway Research Team
Loughborough University—Control Systems Research Group
Newcastle University—Design Unit
University of Birmingham— Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
University of Bristol—Vibration Suppression Research Unit
University of Cambridge—Department of Engineering, Control Group
University of Derby֫—Rail Research and Innovation Centre
University of Huddersfield—Institute of Railway Research
University of Leeds—Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration
University of Nottingham—Human Factors Research Group
University of Nottingham—Resilience Engineering Research Group
University of Nottingham—Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre
University of Southampton—Transportation Research Group
University of Southampton—National Infrastructure Laboratory