RESTRAIL is a research project co-funded under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. RESTRAIL is a three-year project which started on 1 October 2011 under the coordination of UIC. The project aims to help railway stakeholders reduce the number of suicides and trespassing accidents and the costly service disruption caused by these events. One central goal of RESTRAIL is to provide the rail industry with an analysis of cost-effective prevention and mitigation measures as well as with recommendations and guidance materials to optimise the implementation of these measures.
The Swedish Railway Safety Conference
On 12-13 March 2014, Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration, member of the RESTRAIL consortium) organised the annual Railway Safety Conference in Örebro. This event is already a tradition in Sweden and is a good example of the administration’s continued efforts to maintain and improve the safety of rail traffic. This year’s conference focused on how organisations and companies need to re-think their approach to safety by providing the right conditions for correct behaviour.
204 participants attended this event. Most of them were members of Trafikverket, representatives of several Swedish railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, stakeholders, consulting companies, professors and police authorities. Among them there were three foreign keynote speakers: Neil Duggan (SMIS Business Manager at RSSB, UK), Grigore Havarneanu (Research Advisor – Security division, UIC) and Allan Spence (Director, Safety Strategy at Network Rail, UK).
The RESTRAIL Toolbox – one of the keynote presentations in the scientific programme
The programme was structured in four successive plenary sessions which included public talks or panel discussions. Each plenary session focused on a different topic.
The opening session described the current situation in Sweden by analysing the accident report from 2013. The report has been produced in collaboration between the stakeholders in the Swedish railway system. The presenters highlighted the development of railway safety in Sweden during 2013 and presented the management by objectives for 2020.
The second session focused on improving the prevention of suicides by the railway stakeholders. In this part, Jan Klauser (from the rescue services in Ängelholm) and Lars Karsten (representing the police in Skåne County) presented one of the RESTRAIL field tests which is currently being carried out in Sweden under the responsibility of Trafikverket: Skåne’s public safety agencies societal collaboration to prevent suicide.
Then, Grigore Havarneanu gave a short overview of the RESTRAIL project and presented the new toolbox for decision makers, which has been developed in the project. He explained that this is a collection of recommendations, guidelines, best practice and lessons learned which support better decision making and optimise the implementation of prevention and mitigation measures.
During his talk, he provided a few examples from the toolbox of cost-effective measures to prevent railway suicide and explained how the end-users can use the tool to find relevant information about other measures.
In a short interview for the Swedish television, Grigore Havarneanu pointed out that the toolbox is the most important outcome of the project as it facilitates the translation of the research results and international experience into better preventative actions on the railways.
The third part of the conference analysed different dimensions of the safety management in the railway sector. Several companies presented their safety management policies or tools and described their safety cultures. During this session, Neil Duggan explained how the safety management information system (SMIS) works in the UK.
In the final part of the conference, the presentations analysed the connections between safety and punctuality and discussed the possibilities of improving safety by increasing punctuality. During this session, Allan Spence talked about the importance of life saving rules and taking back the safety initiative and provided examples from Network Rail in the UK.
While the Toolbox presentation in Sweden was meant to be a contribution to RESTRAIL’s dissemination strategy, the conference itself provided an excellent opportunity to discuss the best way to exploit the project’s results even after the end of the project.
Thanks to Trafikverket for inviting UIC as RESTRAIL coordinator to this event.