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.
Colin Wheeler BSc (Eng), CEng, FICE, FPWI, Trustee Robert Stephenson Trust, past Editor “The Rail Engineer”, columnist “RailStaff”, railway civil engineer and writer.
Railway Civil Engineer since 1967, worked for British Rail in Leeds, York, Sheffield and Newcastle upon Tyne. Became Civil Engineer for North West England (Manchester and Liverpool) in the 1980’s with 2,500 staff, when Manchester’s Metrolink tram system was built. Pioneer of the modern use of steel sleepers, dynamic track stabilisers and other innovative working practices. Subsequently Infrastructure Engineer InterCity East Coast (Edinburgh to London Kings Cross) prior to privatisation. Until December 2003, Engineering and Safety Adviser Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services (AFR reduced from 1.26 to 0.32 in one year), advocate and supporter of green zone working and use of track warning systems.
Led the national Track Safety Strategy Group for three years, originator and Quiz Master of the UK National Track Safety Awards & Quiz. Sometime columnist for “Rail Infrastructure Magazine”, and still writes on track-worker safety each month for “Railstaff” newspaper. In 2000, awarded the Permanent Way Institution prize for his paper “The Safety of Railway Track Workers” and in 2004 the Arthur Mabey Award, again from the Permanent Way Institution. He was a regular speaker and chairman of both domestic and international railway engineering conferences. Recalls with pride the day he overheard a Railtrack Director describing him as “that safety irritant Colin Wheeler”. From its inception in November 2004 until March 2008 was Editor of “The Rail Engineer”, written exclusively by rail engineers. Circulation amongst engineers doubled in its first year making it the most popular magazine of its kind in Britain.
Was the Independent Chairman of the Association of On Track Labour Services from its foundation in 1999, and continued as Independent Chair of the Railway Industry Contractors Association until 2012. Reviewer/Examiner for Chartered Engineer and Fellowship candidates with the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 2006 won the “Wing Award”-“in recognition of an outstanding contribution to track safety”. From May 2006 until 2012 worked as Business Development Engineer for Rail One of Germany having become convinced of the engineering advantages of ballast-less track systems. Trustee of the Robert Stephenson Trust since May 2009. Partner in Wheeler Associates from 2004 until December 2012.
Has chaired annual Safety Summits for Rail Media since they began including the first one held in Loughborough in 2010. Continues as regular columnist for Railstaff magazine.
I have been involved in Tramways & Light Rail from an early age.
Having started out as an apprentice engineer I worked my way through the ranks rising to the position of chief engineer, before deciding to sample other areas of the engineering industry, whilst still remaining involved in Light Rail operations.
After proving my adaptability in changing fields, I decided to return full time to work in the operational side of the Light Rail Industry whilst keeping an involvement in the engineering side.
I am fortunate enough to have been involved in the Light Rail Industry for over 25 years and have so far spend the majority of my working career in this sector.
Currently working as Managing Director of UKTram (the trade body for the Light Rail Industry in the British Isles) alongside running my own Light Rail consultancy company SMARTTRAMS Ltd.
Simon is the Head of Corporate Safety in Network Rail (NR) and oversees the national standards and controls team, workforce safety team, the NR safety management system, operational safety, track safety research & development (R & D) projects, ergonomics, human factors and safety culture. A mining and minerals processing engineer he worked for contractors and clients firstly in tunnelling and latterly on large project builds such as the King’s Cross Redevelopment Programme.
He Joined NR in 2007 in Capital Delivery and has managed large portfolios as a Capital Delivery Director in the South East Route. In 2019 he joined the Southern regional team as the QHSE director and moved to the Technical Authority as Head of Corporate Safety in 2021.