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Landmark anniversary sees LRSSB celebrate success

22 Sept 2023

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Just five years after its formation, the organisation responsible for UK light rail safety has delivered massive benefits for the sector and the hundreds of thousands of passengers who rely on it every day.

As the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board approaches an important milestone, Chief Executive Carl Williams has highlighted an impressive record of success.

Following a keynote address to sector leaders this week, Mr Williams explained: “The organisation certainly hit the ground running, and as we prepare to celebrate our fifth anniversary, it’s remarkable to see how much has been achieved over a relatively short period of time.

“By working in collaboration with colleagues from across the sector, our growing team has successfully completed a series of vital projects that are already delivering measurable results, reducing the risk of serious accidents and improving operational efficiency.

“Thanks to this centralised approach, it’s also estimated that the LRSSB has saved the sector around £20 million when compared to the cost of individual networks taking on similar work themselves.”

Recent initiatives successfully completed by the LRSSB include a fundamental upgrade to a sector-wide Tram Accident and Incident Reporting (TAIR) system, and the development of a comprehensive risk management and mitigation framework featuring enhanced modelling.

“In addition to reducing the total collective risks of a fatal incident, an important indicator of overall sector safety, this work continues to identify both the most common hazards faced by the sector and emerging challenges,” Mr Williams commented.

The LRSSB was founded in response to the Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the 2016 Sandilands tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of seven people, and since then, its team of light rail safety experts has published more than 40 guidance documents covering all aspects of tramway design and operation.

Delegates at the UK Light Rail Summit in Birmingham also heard they have helped to ensure the safe opening of two network extensions, while taking the lead on almost a dozen innovative research projects.

“The benefits of our work over the past half decade are clear,” Mr Williams said. “As well as reducing the chances of low-frequency, high-impact incidents in the future, the centralised approach to light rail safety and standards is driving operational efficiencies and performance at a network level.

“Ultimately, this also benefits the travelling public, who can rely on even safer, more reliable services, strengthening the case for light rail as an efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to meet the UK’s future urban transport needs,” he added.

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