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.
Speakers confirmed for 2023 so far:-
Ali is a Chartered Engineer with expertise in railway systems engineering, risk management, system safety, assurance and approvals.
He has been with RSSB since February 2019. Before that, Ali was at Bechtel Civil Infrastructure, working on the Riyadh Metro Project, and the UAE safety regulator, the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai.
Andrew Hall is a Chartered Engineer and has worked in the rail industry over 35 years.
He has held engineering and engineering project management roles in Britain and overseas.
In 2004, Andrew joined the newly formed Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).
After 11 years as a Principal Inspector, he was appointed Deputy Chief Inspector in 2015 and subsequently, in 2022, Chief Inspector.
The RAIB is the independent body tasked with the investigation of railway accidents in the UK.
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.
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.
Ian was honored by IOSH as an Honory Vice President in 2011 for contribution to improving Railway Safety.
Ian is a member of the health and safety regulation committee.
James Le Grice joined the DfT in February 2018 as a Railway Standards Policy Advisor.
He worked on the EU Exit preparations for the UK’s rail technical standards regime, and represented UK interests on the European Commission’s Railway Interoperability and Safety Committee.
He then became Head of Rail Supply Chain Policy, leading on the Department’s strategic policies towards the rail supply industry.
Since July 2022, James has been Head of Rail Safety and Standards, leading the team responsible for rail safety, interoperability and standards reform.
Prior to his time in Government, James was a public affairs consultant working for clients in the transport, pharmaceutical and engineering sectors.
He has also worked for politicians in both the UK Parliament and United States Congress.
James studied History at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and University College London.
John is a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner (CMIOSH) who has worked in construction and railway industries for over 30 years, he is an Associate Member of IEMA (AIEMA) and working towards practitioner status (PIEMA).
Leo is the CEO and founder of award-winning safety technology startup Tended. He has been the driving force behind Tended’s transformative solutions for safety-critical industries, including the company’s advanced geofencing solution. Developed alongside Network Rail, this solution can prevent accidents and near misses in the industry by helping workers regain situational awareness when they leave safe working limits.
In 2021, Leo was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. He was also named Midlands Startup Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2019 Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
Marian Kelly is the Head of Safety, Health and Environment for London Underground.
She has worked in a variety of roles in Transport for London for the past 15 years, and in her current role is responsible for ensuring that London Underground continues to run a safe railway, for ensuring we manage our safety, health and environment risks effectively.
Nick has over 30 years in the railway industry, starting as an apprentice mechanical and electrical engineer at 16. Nick is a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Chartered Project Manager and a Chartered Permanent Way Engineer.
He is also a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Permanent Way Institution. Nick Has undertaken a number of roles at all levels in asset management, plant, projects and maintenance up to Infrastructure Projects Director and Route Infrastructure Maintenance Director.
Nick recently led the Network Rail Safety Task Force, which focused on modernising our approach to maintaining our railway in an effort to significantly reduce the risk of track workers being struck by a train. Since July, Nick has been the interim Route Director for the Wales and Borders Route.
Peter Dearman is a qualified Electrical and Mechanical Rail Engineer with a background in traction electrification.
He began his career at British Rail in 1970 and has extensive experience in rail engineering and operations.
Peter has held senior and varied roles within BR, Railtrack and Network Rail and in private sector contractors and consultancies.
In 2009 he was responsible for defining the Network Electrification Plan for Network Rail which included the National Electrification Safety Improvement Programme.
He has been instrumental in delivery of electric traction projects in UK, France, Denmark, New Zealand and Dubai, and continues to support international clients.
In 2022/23 he will hold the role of President of the PWI, the Institution for Rail Infrastructure Engineering.
Professor Sarah Sharples is Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Transport.
She is a Professor of Human Factors in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham and from 2018-2021 was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion and People. She has led research in transport, manufacturing and healthcare, and currently leads the EPSRC (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council) Connected Everything Network Plus.
She founded and co-director of the EPSRC Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training, and has led research programmes examining implementation of new technologies in rail, highways and aviation.
She was President of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors from 2015-16.
I have spent my working life trying to improve health and safety for workers across numerous industries.
I started with the Health and Safety Executive regulating Agriculture, Construction, Engineering and Gas Safety. I 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 Hatfield and Potters Bar investigations.
Following stints helping the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Treasury to improve workplace health and mental wellbeing, I joined The Office of Rail Regulation heading up the enforcement and investigation policy team.
I am proud to have lead Network Rail HS&E teams in Kent and LNE Routes before in August 2015 I took on the role of Head of Corporate Workforce Safety where I focussed on the Vehicle Speed Warning System and Planning and Delivering Safe Work.
I joined the Anglia Route in November 2017 focusing on developing and implementing a Route Health, Safety and Sustainability plan that was owned by everyone in the Route.
I feel very lucky to be the Chief Health and Safety Officer for Network Rail. Our objective is very clear Everyone Home Safe Everyday be they our staff, passengers or members of the public who interact with our Railway.
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