We have hand picked some of the leading figures within the rail industry to present at this year's event. Find out a bit more about each of our speakers below.
Allan joined Network Rail in 2012 to create the company strategy for transforming safety and wellbeing. He has been at the heart of the company’s shift towards its vision of: Everyone Home Safe Every Day. He is currently leading the company’s work in all aspects of passenger and public safety.
He is vice chair of the cross-industry System Safety Risk Group and chair of the specialist group covering level crossing safety.
His career was originally as a safety regulator with experience in many different industries. In 2000 Allan joined the then HM Railway Inspectorate and moved with the inspectorate to the newly combined safety and economic regulator - the Office of Rail Regulation - becoming HM Deputy Chief Inspector.
His rail experience spans all aspects of the industry, including infrastructure management, operators, major projects, light rail and the heritage sector, as well as work with oversees regulators and railway companies. But he also draws on his experience with many other industries, including his roots in agriculture and construction.
Colin joined British Rail Eastern Region in York as a graduate in 1967. He went on to work in Leeds, York, Sheffield, and Manchester, where as the divisional civil engineer for Manchester and Liverpool he devolved the division into two.
After a brief spell with Intercity back in York, TUPE took Colin to Balfour Beatty Rail from where he managed the Track Safety Strategy Group for three years. Whilst working as a consultant after retirement, Colin chaired the Rail Industry Contractors Association for 13 years and was the first editor of The Rail Engineer magazine in 2003.
Colin won the “Wing Award” for track safety in 2006 and still writes a published column on railway safety that is published each month in RailStaff.
Colin is a director of the Robert Stephenson Trust and continues as a professional reviewer for aspirant civil engineers seeking fellowship of the Institution of Civil Engineers or chartered and incorporated professional status.
As a non-executive director of the Permanent Way Institution, Colin is using his experience in re-focussing the PWI and increasing its relevance to those working in the rail infrastructure today. Hence the pursuit of accreditation with the Council of Engineering Institutions and now his thoughts are turning to how it can increase the appeal of the Institution to the many commercial businesses now involved as well as all the rail infrastructure owners. For more than a decade, Colin ran his own railway engineering consultancy prior to his retirement three years ago.
Erin leads Addleshaw Goddard's health and safety practice in the wider Global Investigations Group. She is regularly instructed by the firm's leading corporate clients and individuals facing prosecution or investigation by the Police, HSE and other authorities in the criminal courts.
Erin has substantial experience in contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters and has regularly acted for the Health and Safety Executive in a range of matters, leading to prosecutions being brought against third parties in the Magistrate and Crown Courts.
She now solely acts for the firm's corporate clients and for individuals on the receiving end of such prosecutions and has particular experience of dealing with very serious and fatal accidents.
Erin advises clients facing prosecution or investigation by other regulatory bodies, including Local Authorities, Fire & Rescue Service, Information Commissioner's Office, Office of Rail and Road and the Civil Aviation Authority. Many of these matters involve reputation management issues.
She has been awarded Higher Rights of Audience for both civil and criminal proceedings.
Darren has substantial experience in regulatory matters from his time as an in-house barrister at the Legal Advisors Office of the Health and Safety Executive.
He advised on complex investigations and across industrial sectors (including defence, energy, healthcare and manufacturing) and has experience of asset recovery and extradition issues following secondments to the UK Foreign Office and United Nations.
After leaving Leeds University where he had been researching in organometallic chemistry, Gary Cooper joined British Rail in 1984 being attracted to it as a commuter because of the then Government's and BR Chairman’s policy to ‘run the railway as a business’ that focussed on its customers.
Starting as a station supervisor, Gary moved through the management grades before becoming one of the first Commercial Directors for British Rail and later the Deputy Managing Director at Network SouthCentral - the BR-owned forerunner to Southern.
After privatisation, Gary undertook a number of roles for Connex at TOC and Board level including Group Engineering Director, Group Planning Director and Group Major Projects Director. In 2002 he was invited, by the Strategic Rail Authority, to take the then full-time post of Business Director for the industry’s National Task Force Punctuality (NTF). While retaining his role with the NTF, in 2007 Gary became a change consultant to the rail and bus industries before being asked to become Head of Operations at ATOC in 2009.
He became Director of Operations Engineering and Major Projects in May 2012 and Rail Delivery Group Executive Director Planning Engineering and Operations in November 2016.
His non-work interests include real ales; cooking, organisational design; classic cars; the works of JB Priestly; and walking in the English countryside.
George Bearfield is the Director of System Safety and Health for the railway standards and research body RSSB. He is responsible for RSSBs’ work to support the industry in all aspects of its health and safety management and assurance processes and capabilities. This work is underpinned by a core capability in assessing and understanding risk so that it is undertaken in an informed and evidence-based way.
George joined RSSB in 2006 and prior to this worked as a senior consultant at Atkins Rail, following previous roles in the consultancy and railway supply sectors. George has a PhD in Computer Science, specialising in railway risk modelling and is a Chartered member of the IET, and a Fellow of the Safety and Reliability Society. He is the visiting Professor of Railway System Safety at the University of Huddersfield and is an independent expert advisor to the board safety sub-committee of National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
A chartered Health and Safety professional, Ian joined Costain in 2006 and has been in a Sector SHE Leadership role since 2011, initially within Highways operations and more recently within Nuclear and Rail operations aiding the sharing of learning and best practice between varying industries.
Ian has had a strong interest in the Health of Health & Safety which led to him completing MSc Workplace Health at the University of Nottingham in 2011/ 2012. This interest also led to Ian being appointed as the lead for Occupational Health and Wellbeing through Highways England’s Delivery Hub where Ian has led work on Fatigue Management, Occupational Health, Manual Handling, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and Occupational Cancers.
Another passion of Ian’s is to develop people and particularly bring new people into the industry. Within Costain Ian co-chairs their SHE Academy, the development programme for the SHE Graduates and Apprentices. Keen to take the work at Costain to a national level, Ian has chaired the Trailblazer working group that has successfully developed and launched England’s first SHE Apprenticeship. This is a level 3 qualification aimed at new entrants or those changing career. Health and behaviours are key parts of the syllabus ensuring that those starting out in a career in SHE fully understand hierarchy of control for managing health hazards and the reasons that people may be tempted to take risks with their health. The work in developing the SHE Apprenticeship resulted in Ian being named in the Safety Health Practitioner (SHP) Most Influential People in Health & Safety in 2017.
Throughout his career Ian has developed, implemented and administered behaviourally driven Health and Safety programmes which have shaped and improved the lives of his colleagues, clients and the public. He has worked on an array of schemes that have included new build schools, hospital extensions, offices, new build infrastructure schemes, infrastructure maintenance schemes, airport improvements and upgrades to water treatment works.
Ian is the chief inspector of railways and director, railway safety, and an executive member of the board. He is responsible for the work of the Railway Safety Directorate, which strives to ensure dutyholders in the railway industry manage health and safety risks effectively and thus comply with their statutory duties.
The Secretary of State appointed him to the board with effect from 26 September 2008. Ian was educated at Imperial College where he attained a first class honours degree in chemical engineering, followed by a Master of Philosophy in control engineering and operations research at Cambridge University. He has worked in safety critical industries for more than 34 years: originally in the chemical pharmaceutical and automotive industries, where the roles performed spanned a wide spectrum from works/production management to project and technology management, delivering improvements in safety and quality.
Prior to joining ORR, he worked at ICI for 17 years then he spent eight years in the rail industry, working for Amey Rail and Amey Operations as both technical director and Quensh director and then Metronet Rail, where he had the leading role in safety management; he was a director of both infraco companies.
Lilian Greenwood was elected as MP for Nottingham South in 2010, having previously been a UNISON organiser in the East Midlands.
She campaigned for investment in the Midland Main Line and the Nottingham Express Transit project before becoming a member of the Transport Select Committee.
She joined the Shadow Transport team in 2011 as Shadow Local Transport Minister, in which role she was responsible for Labour’s policies on buses, walking and cycling, and she was made Shadow Rail Minister in January 2013.
She retained the Transport brief when she was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet in September 2015 until her resignation in June 2016.
Lilian was elected Chair of the Transport Select Committee in July 2017.
Mark has extensive experience in the development, implementation and assessment of multimodal transport safety management systems with particular expertise within light rail.
Mark has over 20 years' experience within the light rail industry, starting out his career as an engineer at midland metro, working his way through the ranks to the position of health and safety manager.
In 2011 Mark took on the position of health and safety manager for the Metro extensions scheme within Birmingham City Centre (BCCE) and Metro Depot extensions before progressing to the posisiton of health and safety manager of West Midlands combined Authority in 2015. More recently the expansion of UKTram led to him joining the organisation as safety and standards manager in July 2018.
Mick Whelan is general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union. He has spent more than 30 years on the railway, and more than 30 years as an active trade unionist. He began as a guard, on British Rail’s Midland region, in 1984. He was, first, a member, and then a rep, for the National Union of Railwaymen (now the RMT).
When Mick became a train driver in 1988, he joined ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, and was elected regional organiser for its Midland region in 2000. Mick was elected general secretary of ASLEF in 2011 and, in the last seven years, has worked hard to re-engage with the other rail unions, the TUC, and the Labour Party, as well as engaging closely with other stakeholders in the railway industry.
In 2016, Mick became chair of TULO, the Trade Union & Labour Party Liaison Organisation, which co-ordinates the activities of the 13 trade unions which affiliate to the Labour Party, and, in September 2017, he was elected to the national executive committee of the Labour Party.
Paul, an Assistant Chief Inspector of Railways, leads ORR’s three Mainline Operators Teams. These teams carry out inspection and investigation work with all of the mainline train operating companies, freight operating companies and charter companies across Great Britain.
Paul joined HSE in 1989 to be a Health and Safety Inspector. He inspected agriculture, factories, schools, and construction. In 2000, Paul joined HM Railway Inspectorate as a frontline inspector; in 2003 he became HM Principal Inspector and lead for the Southern team.
In 2006, HM Railway Inspectorate was transferred to ORR. In 2014, Paul became an Assistant Chief Inspector and led ORR’s five Network Rail route teams (45 people) that regulate the mainline rail infrastructure of Great Britain.
Chairman of the Ford & Stanley group, Peter Schofield is a renowned performance coach, employer brand consultant, and leading pioneer of hiring and retention strategies for skills short markets.
Peter developed GENIUS Performance to show that, given the new pressures and distractions that exist in today's working environment, everybody benefits when employees are properly supported.
Running leadership development programmes for clients all over the world, Peter, alongside GENIUS Performance coaches, supplies a ground-breaking employee wellbeing and performance support coaching service, giving employees access to the same level of performance support traditionally reserved for top performers in the world of sport.
Listed in the Derby Telegraph Inspirational 250, the trademark of Peter's work is a passionate devotion to the development of best hiring practice; the point where, arguably, competitive advantage begins or is yielded. His methods have already worked for over seven hundred organisations, helping them to attract, motivate and retain thousands of key people on a permanent and interim basis.
Reuben McDonald joined HS2 in 2014 to lead the projects approach and demonstration of system safety under the Common Safety Method on Risk Evaluation and Assessment (CSM-RA).
In addition, Reuben leads the demonstration of compliance with the railway interoperability regulations and leads HS2's approach to railway physical and cyber security.
HS2 is being delivered as an integrated programme so the scope of safety demonstration includes physical infrastructure, railway systems, rolling stock, stations, depots and the development of an infrastructure manager organisation, station operator organisation and the interface to a future train operator. Reuben’s prior experience has been in rail and aviation risk management.
Before HS2, Reuben worked for the RSSB, Det Norske Veritas and National Air Traffic Services. Reuben holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester.
Dr Richard Peters is chief medical officer at Network Rail. He provides assurance to the board, the company as a whole, regulators and the wider rail industry on the occupational health and wellbeing management of its c39,000 permanent employees.
Richard holds an honorary position at University College London Medical School as a clinical senior lecturer and works with the Faculty of Occupational Medicine to ensure a benchmark of standards for the teaching of the occupational medicine at medical schools throughout the UK.
He is an elected member of ARIOPS (Association of Railway Industry Occupational Health Practitioners) and part of the Global Chief Medical Officers Network powered by BUPA.
Prior to Network Rail he was chief medical officer at Capita Plc.
Sharon joined Network Rail in 2014 in Route Services as a process manager and in addition to her role became a mental wellbeing champion and mental health first aider, delivering presentations, training more champions, raising awareness and supporting colleagues experiencing stress and mental health conditions around the country.
Sharon speaks candidly about her own experience of depression and what more needs to be done to address the issue of mental health within the rail industry. Sharon is also a diversity and inclusion champion.
A chartered member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), Rupert has spent his working life trying to improve health and safety for workers across numerous industries.
Rupert started with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), regulating agriculture, construction, engineering and gas safety. He first became involved with rail back in October 1999 - a week before Ladbroke Grove - and spent considerable time working for HMRI on this and subsequently on the Hatfield and Potters Bar investigations.
Following stints helping the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury to improve workplace health and mental wellbeing, Rupert joined the Office of Rail Regulation, heading up the enforcement and investigation policy team.
Following a secondment to Network Rail as the South East head of route safety improvement manager, Rupert joined Network Rail as the head of LNE/EM route health, safety and environment. In August 2015, he took on the role of head of corporate workforce safety, where he has been focused on the Vehicle Speed Warning System and Planning and Delivering Safe Work (PDSW).
Since joining the Anglia Route in November 2017, Rupert has focused on developing and implementing a route health, safety and sustainability plan that is owned by everyone in the route; a plan that gives everyone accountability.
Simon Ellis is a chartered engineer and current Global Services Bid Technical Manager for Bombardier. He has 15 years' experience working in the rail industry having joined Bombardier as a graduate engineer in 2003, with all roles based within the services/maintenance field.
Prior to his current role, Simon was the Head of Maintenance for Aventra during its product development stage managing the design for maintenance team and total cost of ownership development on the platform and subsequent projects.
Previously, he set up Bombardiers centralised maintenance development function, carrying out optimisation of fleet maintenance across UK products and subsequent to that had been a fleet engineer for five years on the Class 222 Meridian fleet.
Simon French is a graduate of the London School of Economics and joined the railway industry in 1982 as a management trainee.He held a number of operational posts in British Rail and worked on number of major railway projects including the Channel Tunnel and Heathrow Express.
In 1998, he joined the client organisation for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now known as HS1) as the head of operations and safety.
In 2004, Simon joined the newly formed Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB). After six years as deputy, in 2015 he was appointed to the role of chief inspector.
The RAIB is the independent body tasked with the investigation of railway accidents in the UK.
A chartered engineer and currently president of the Permanent Way Institution, Stephen is responsible for the safety of TfL’s track assets.
Stephen leads his engineering team in the development, design, and introduction of new materials, components, and techniques to improve track safety, availability, and reliability, and to reduce costs. Stephen is a career railwayman, having spent 44 years in the industry.
Prior to joining TfL in 2010, he was director of safety and engineering at Babcock Rail where he led the joint engineering team which commissioned, tested, and moved into production Network Rail’s second generation of high output track renewal equipment.
An early career spent working in a variety of civil and track engineering design and production roles throughout the UK culminated in work on board policy and transport business strategy at British Rail headquarters. As technical director at contractor First Engineering, he strengthened company and industry work management and engineering assurance activities in response to events at Hatfield in 2000.
Stephen is a fellow of the Permanent Way Institution, and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He is committed to the development of the PWI, and particularly to its role in harnessing railway systems engineering knowledge from industry and the academic world, and spreading that understanding widely through the rail industry.
Stephen joined what was Lloyd’s Register Rail in 2002, a company which Ricardo bought in 2015. He is currently the Lead Signatory at Ricardo Certification, with oversight and responsibility for the Independent Assurance work performed by Ricardo across the world.
He has been involved in assessment, approvals and safety case work for railway systems for over 20 years, and has been involved in the development and the application of many railway safety and system standards.
In his current role, he sees the assessment work and safety evidence for many large and small railway projects, and is very aware of the complex requirements and considerable pressures involved when bringing new systems and railways into service.