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Network Rail Track Delivery Update from Steve Featherstone. 28 May 2014

28 May 2014

Project Safety Leadership Group (PSLG)

Last Thursday, I chaired the Project Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) meeting.  PSLG includes senior representatives from Network Rail Infrastructure Projects as well as industry leaders representing our major contractors.  The chair rotates: Roger Dickinson, IP did a brilliant job leading a discussion on Mark Carne’s safety vision and Mark Bullock, Balfour Beatty is chairing the next one. 

I led the meeting in three parts: risks, decisions and discussion.  In risks the discussion was led by Martin Frobisher on the planning and delivery of safe works, which created a much better understanding of the changes that will be introduced over the next few months. As I increasingly understand what the future of safe works delivery looks like, I really appreciate why it is being introduced and how it will give us a step change in track worker safety.

At the beginning of the meeting, I paused the meeting for a Safety Moment which I copied with pride from Anna Scarth in our High Output team. This is a very simple exercise and can be done anywhere – all it requires is imagination:

Read the following to a group and pause after each line for a few seconds.

  • Please close your eyes
  • Think about the people around you
  • Think about what you can hear
  • Think about what you do at work
  • Think about your work colleagues
  • Think about your families
  • Think about your friends
  • Think about what you did last weekend
  • Think this is what it is like to be blind
  • Think this is what it could be like if you do not wear your safety glasses

 This takes a minute at the beginning of a shift or meeting and it really gets people focused on safety. You could also show photographs of poor safety practice and discuss what could have happened – the attached may be of use.

In the decisions section of the meeting we agreed the following for all infrastructure projects worksites:

1    Reverse parking will be mandatory

2    Safety glasses will be mandatory. Although they be risk assessed “off” by the person in charge of safety for certain tasks e.g. rain drizzle.  This is in line with Network Rail policy.

3    All companies in the supply chain will have a fair culture policy that is at least equivalent to the Network Rail policy

4    The suspension of one tonne tippers introduced in Southern region will be extended nationally until we understand why they have toppled over. A safety alert will be issued.


After a number of high profile overruns, track delivery was good over the bank holiday weekend. In order to protect on time handback, a number of jobs were curtailed. The most significant loss of work was where a worksite was extended, trapping a tamper destined for a high output worksite.

Without a tamper, the work was cancelled and c£150k of production lost. An investigation is underway as we must understand the consequences of decision to change plans at short notice.  It is likely that the team making the decision to extend the worksite were unaware of where the tamper had been stabled on its way to site.

Track contracts

Last Friday we briefed the new contract landscape to the PWI. Approx 80 people attended with lots of interactive discussion and we’ve agreed to make this an annual event to update PWI members on the latest developments in track delivery.  Briefings are also scheduled with RIA and RICA.

Rail Live

Preparations for Rail Live have hit top gear with less than three weeks to go before the event on 18 -19 June. On the evening of 17 June we have invited the exhibitors to join us for the inaugural Rail Plant Awards. It seems strange that with so many awards ceremonies in the railway industry, there are no awards that recognise the important contribution our plant supply chain make to the success of the industry. We are rectifying this and will make the following awards:

  • Best RRV Operator / Company
  • Most Improved RRV Operator / Company
  • Best Small Plant Operator / Company
  • Most Improved Small Plant Operator / Company
  • Best OTM (Large Plant) Operator / Company
  • Best Innovation – RRV
  • Best Innovation – Small Plant
  • Best Innovation – Delivery Systems
  • Best In Show – Bronze
  • Best In Show – Silver
  • Best In Show – Gold

As with last year we are asking exhibitors to provide a voluntary donation to charity. It was a real pleasure last year to be able to present two charities with significant donations.

For details and to reserve your place at Rail Live:

Miscellaneous news

Network Rail have issued a safety bulletin on Temporary Traffic Management at Level Crossings

Network Rail have issued a safety bulletin prohibiting the use of certain RRVs following a runaway

IP Track have issued a Share with Pain following a serious overrun at Norwood Junction

The IP Track Design Team have reissued a Share with Pride providing a Pway design guide

Balfour Beatty have issued a Share with Pride on Vortok Lighting Mast Supports

Balfour Beatty have issued a Share with Pride following the identification of missing fencing

IP Track has issued a Share with Pride to show how they have copied the use of electronic site signs from a previous Share with Pride and shows how Sharing and Copying with Pride really adds value.


Steve Featherstone

Programme Director Track

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