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Everyone home safe every day

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Getting customers from A to B safely and ensuring that staff go home unharmed is a core focus of our industry and, while statistics show that rail has made great strides in the past few decades, there is always space for improvement. As such, the key focus of this issue is health, safety & wellbeing, and we deliver a wealth of insightful and in-depth features.

Leading the focus, Colin Wheeler delivers his regular take on the latest RAIB accident reports and asks how and if the operation of the railways will change under a new government. Radical change is discussed by Darren Broadhead, managing director of Broadhead Global, who argues that a paradigm shift in thinking is required to improve health & safety in the industry.

On 12 March, Rail Media held its annual Rail Safety Summit at Loughborough University. The conference saw health and safety professionals present the latest information and developments within their field of expertise alongside companies exhibiting the most exciting products and services. On page 20, we give an overview of this successful event and a summary of the presentations our expert speakers delivered.

Following this, Paul Darlington gives us a report on the life-saving actions of Signaller Bill Taylor. Back in 1984, Bill managed to avert disaster at Carlisle Citadel Station. Paul met with Bill’s son David, now account director at Thales, to hear about the incident 40 years ago. Rounding off the issue focus, we examine the disturbing rise in cases of staff abuse and ask how this upsetting trend can be reversed.

But before all of that, Jacqueline Carr, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), kicks off the issue with a celebration of Darwin’s 20-year anniversary. As one of the most critical systems serving the industry, Darwin powers all the real-time information which customers use to check the status of their train journey. When you look up the status of your train on Google Maps or the National Rail Enquiries app, among others, you’re accessing information provided by the system.

We’ve also bagged an interview with Jo Shelley and Adam Blower, who lead Network Rail and RDG’s Smarter Information, Smarter Journeys Programme (SISJ). The programme’s aim is to deliver better and simpler customer information to ensure that passengers have the best possible rail journey experience. The SISJ team currently has 21 projects underway to deliver its aims in the next few years.

In our second interview of this issue, we sit down to chat with Dr Neil Strong. As biodiversity strategy manager, he works to manage Network Rail’s estate to ensure trains run safely and to schedule, and that Network Rail meets its environment obligations. Neil discusses the challenges of the role, the intricacies of liaising with the public, and the increasing effects of climate change.

Closing the issue, Young Rail Professionals Chair Bonnie Price brings news of the organisation’s awards evening and looks forward to her second year in office, welcoming new team members and discussing the exciting events in store for 2024/25.

As ever, we also celebrate the RailStaff Awards, which creep ever closer. As the only event to solely honour the rail industry’s incredible employees, it’s devoted to those who go beyond their day-to-day role.

Nominations are open now, so go ahead – make someone’s day and give them a mention!

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