At RSSB, all our work is underpinned by the need to support our members in creating an efficient rail system, improving operating performance and customer satisfaction, while reducing the cost of rail to passengers and taxpayers.

Two of our research and development programmes will deliver support across some of the industry’s top priority issues. 

ADHERE programme

Our ADHERE programme, started early in 2018, looks at ways in which we can understand and manage issues with adhesion. This will help the industry deliver better performance and customer satisfaction. We want to mitigate the delays and disruption caused by low adhesion. The ADHERE programme achieves this by tackling five key topics to help mitigate the challenge posed by low adhesion:

PERFORM programme

Launched in April 2018, our PERFORM programme will tackle a range of influencing factors including reducing variability in rail operations, optimising rules and standards, improving management of disruption and getting more value from train performance related data.

Collaborating with industry

We work alongside industry to deliver new findings and implement outputs, reducing rail adhesion issues and the disruption and costs associated with them. Building on the success of the ADHERE programme, and our work with industry to share good practice, we will also investigate what new knowledge and solutions are required to improve rail resilience to weather including how the industry can achieve better seasonal readiness.

Our collaborative work has included a trial of sander configurations and sand laying rates. Our work on Emergency Special Working has led the way to a new set of rules to be used when there are signalling failures. We have also produced guidance documents and videos for drivers, signallers, PICOPs and the competent person.


Our assurance programmes, RISQS and RISAS, aim to give rail industry buyers the certainty they need. Whether buying products or services, you will know that they have been assessed as fit for purpose. Where needed, safety critical products will have had qualified third-party assessment.

RISQS is the supplier qualification service for buyers of products and services throughout the GB rail industry. During CP6, we will make significant improvements to the RISQS scheme for both buyers and suppliers. We will introduce functionality that encourages suppliers to improve safety processes and procedures. Buyers will have a greater understanding of the maturity of their supply chain. We will make system upgrades to enhance the user experience, adding useful assurance and compliance tools and guidance.

RISAS enables duty holders and other major customers to rely on common third-party assessments when procuring from suppliers of critical products. This allows for economies of scale by reducing duplication in auditing and assessment.

We are undertaking a full review of the RISAS scheme. We aim not only to use the scheme to its full potential but to increase its scope. We will consult with the industry to ensure that the scheme is developed in line with the changing needs of all stakeholders. We will ensure the quality of audit, inspection and accreditation remains high. We will look to use the functionality within the RISQS platform to integrate RISAS. This will give buyers and suppliers a complete assurance, and procurement tool that integrates with the in-house systems of major industry buyers.

CP6 plan

To find out more about any of the issued discussed, download our full CP6 Strategic Business Plan (below), or the extract that just covers our Efficient Rail activities or watch the video below.