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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Safety and Reliability

For a Special Issue on
Maintaining Railway Safety in an Ever-Changing World

Manuscript deadline
30 April 2022

Cover image - Safety and Reliability

Special Issue Editor(s)

Peter Sheppard, Safety and Reliability Society
[email protected]

Ross Dunsford, WSP
[email protected]

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Maintaining Railway Safety in an Ever-Changing World

Maintaining Railway Safety in an Ever-Changing World

Railway safety, when it is working properly, is invisible to the users and all other stakeholders, however when there has been a problem, it can become very obvious very quickly. It is therefore essential that safety is an integral part of the lifecycle from the very beginning to the very end.

The following are examples of topics that could be considered in this special issue journal - the editors will consider other topics:

Safety First

Some lessons are learned through RAIB reports where the parties involved are required to put mitigations in place to prevent a repeat. Papers are invited which consider how (or is it) possible to improve the application of safety through the cradle to grave lifecycle without having to learn lessons through accidents or incidents.

On large projects pressures can drive the design ahead of safety and thus lead to safety teams being asked “is this design safe” rather than identifying and incorporating safety requirements during the design process. This can become exacerbated when an existing system is being modified and the degree of impact analysis is incorrect.

There is then the testing phase, where with modern systems it has to be a combination of analysis and testing as if testing were to be used as the only technique, the sheer number of tests required would mean that the testing would take so long the system would be obsolete when finally commissioned!

Lastly, there is the in-service modifications as the result of obsolescence, user experience or emergent properties e.g. body cracks on the 80x class trains as a result of the use of harder aluminium and the change in environment.


It often seems difficult for project and commercial managers to reconcile the cost and effort required on a large project for the ‘non-core’ disciplines (e.g. safety, RAM, SE); perhaps because we do not produce the tangible deliverables that they are used to seeing in return (like a shiny new bridge!) – how do we change that perception so that those who are not safety and reliability practitioners understand and recognise the value and importance safety brings, and therefore budget accordingly?

Time Pressures

With the demand to reduce timescales and budgets for delivering infrastructure projects (e.g. in NR Project Acceleration in a Controlled Environment (PACE) replacing the current process Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP)), what can we do to streamline our traditional safety processes accordingly to create efficiencies without compromising our analyses and its results?

Emergent Properties/Testing .v. Analysis

The introduction of new technologies and digitalised solutions in railway systems has led to the increased complexity of these systems, and thus to the emergence of new types of unintended system performance or unpredicted system behaviour; are the tried and tested techniques that have been used for all these years still appropriate? What else can we be doing?

Learning from Other Sectors

Cross-modal approach to safety: what can we learn from other sectors and how can it be applied through a typical railway lifecycle? Also, would a common set of standards and approaches help to alleviate skill shortages in rail (by allowing safety engineers to easily move across industries)?

Is the Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment (CSM-RA)  appropriate in all cases?

The main line rail industry recognises CSM-RA as the mandatory approach to risk assessment, but what about the other fundamental principles of engineering safety management? Are we missing the Yellow Book? (There is the iESM (International Engineering Safety Management) handbook, but is it sufficiently well known for mainline organisations).

How should safety be managed on future mega-projects? In the UK we’re in the process of delivering some of the largest rail projects known to the UK (e.g. Cross Rail London, High Speed 2); can we develop a prescriptive framework based on our experiences on these mega-projects that helps us to manage the complexities of emerging and evolving design, contractual and commercial complications, interfacing entities at stakeholder, client, consultant, and supplier level?

Submission Instructions

  • The editors seek industry papers and academic papers
  • When submitting please select this special issue 'Maintaining Railway Safety in an Ever-Changing World' from the drop-down list
  • The target publication date for this journal is late 2022/early 2023

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article