On 11th February, the Safety Platform’s Safety Interfaces Team (SIT) met in the UIC’s premises in Brussels. Simon Fletcher, UIC’s Coordinator Europe chaired this expert group bringing together representatives from RUs and IMs across a wide geographic spread of UIC’s European members as well as representatives from the Safety Platform Support Team whose role is to ensure a proper and effective link with other groups from the Safety Platform.
SIT has a role to deal with a range of issues that take into account the ever more critical series of operational interfaces that exist between systems and the players within and external to the rail sector. These interfaces can best be described as between:
Train and Infrastructure
Railway Undertaking and Infrastructure Manager
Railway Undertaking and Railway Undertaking
Rail sector and private third parties (road vehicle drivers on level crossings, pedestrians, passengers, )
Rail Sector & Agencies (ERA, NIBs, NSAs & Regulators)
UIC and other rail sector associations, entities
The meeting aimed at reviewing a number of issues from the Safety Platform Work Programme and which the Steering Committee had asked SIT to consider. It also looked at its current structure as a group and what it should undertake as an expert group moving forward.
High on the list was the interface with the operational focus that is being developed within the UIC under the umbrella of the UIC System Coordination Group that was created in October 2008. The role expected of both the Safety Platform and SIT in this regard was discussed. It was agreed that SIT should become a dynamic virtual body that can and should be used to resource special topics mainly focusing on safety and operations and the specific aspects of the interfaces covered in the list above.
An important step forward is to build a network of operational contacts to fulfil these objectives and therefore create an effective interface between the TSI development and the safety experts.
Additionally, SIT will undertake a monitoring role in respect to key issues affecting safety through the development of TSIs.
An annual workshop on themes associated with operational risk will be organised, the next one to be held in February 2010 possibly on SPADs.
SIT will also continue to monitor and the work done by the ERA regarding technical issues where many differences still exist between Member States such as on train dispatch or tail lamps and will offer support where possible to the experts engaged in that work.
The three-language version of the guide on International Accident Investigations was tabled for final approval before printing and publication. This guide will shortly be made available to a number of bodies National Investigation Bodies as well as the UIC’s RU and IM members.
The meeting also contributed to developing the latest initiatives regarding the European strategy proposed by UIC and endorsed by the European Level Crossing Forum for controlling the level of risk at the road/rail interface. This strategy mainly focuses on the engagement of key stakeholders including road sector, police forces and official bodies, on a proper enforcement addressing bad road user behaviour systematically, and on education. The meeting also supported the UIC initiative to sign the European Road Safety Charter (with CER and EIM), as part of our commitment to raise awareness at level crossings and as part of the European campaign to be held in June.
SIT will be reporting on all these issues at the next Safety Platform Steering Committee to be held in London on 12th March.