Rail EEDI Charter

We can’t believe that it has been a year since the launch of the @womeninRail @RailIndustry Equality Diversity & Inclusion Charter.

We’re delighted to have been invited to be a signatory of the Charter and to be supporting a more welcoming inclusive rail sector for all.


West Somerset Railway

S and L Roberts (Railway Consulting) Ltd is very pleased to announce that it has signed a contract to provide safety expertise to the West Somerset Railway (WSR)

We are really happy to be helping the WSR to flourish and to continue to be a leading player in the heritage and visitor attraction sector.

Whether as a member of staff, a volunteer or a visitor, we all have the right to be kept safe and we all have the responsibility to act safely when on or about the WSR.

Steve Roberts

Roberts’ Reflections – A sad time for us all.

What a sad time for our railway family, with the loss of a driver, conductor and passenger in Scotland. RAIB has stated that the primary cause was a landslip which immediately made me think of the incident near Watford where some quick thinking saved us from more sad news. I remember research being undertaken by RSSB into the effects of climate change – I can see the recommendations in that report being dusted off once again!

The pandemic goes on with little sign of abating, only the measures being taken seem to change. I may be accused of being a cynic but I have to agree with a woman on Radio 4’s Any Questions (not a programme that I often agree with those that phone in!) who said that you seem to be able to go anywhere that has a card reader!

I see that RSSB has worked out that on average an individual is likely to infected by Covid-19 once in 11000 journeys when travelling on a train. The model that demonstrates this assumes social distancing is taking place (so a relatively small number of people on the train) but doesn’t take into account the wearing of face masks. Should we be reassured by this, well those travelling on our near empty trains currently should be. I will be more interested when scenarios are modelled with increasing numbers of customers on the train as the masses are encouraged to return to the office.

I’m pleased to say that I have recently gained a contract with Bridgeway Consulting to deliver a piece of work for Network Rail’s T190+ research programme. The programme is building the industry’s capability to deliver the next generation of digital technology.

A recent announcement from the government will mean that Coventry will receive Β£1.8m in funding to help develop a Very Light Rail system for the city. This coupled with funding of Β£6m to help create a Very Light Rail test centre in Dudley is great news for the West Midlands.

If you ever require professional railway operations advice, then please contact me at steve.safety@hotmail.co.uk or comment on this post.

Roberts’ Reflections: Catch a train, catch a virus?

Today (June 15) is the next step towards the new normal or so we are told. Non-essential retail outlets (shops to you and me) can reopen. The general public, though, are still being discouraged from all public transport except for essential journeys and if they do travel, they must wear a face covering. These strange times are becoming stranger in my opinion with the lockdown being eased despite the alert level (whatever happened to that) not falling. Of course, I wish all the newly opened businesses well, but you won’t find me rushing to them just yet πŸ€”

Mention of the alert levels reminds me of another mystery disappearance “The Williams Report” – remember that, the report destined to bring big change and sort out the railway once and for all? Well, according to the latest reports its been held up by the Coronavirus – does that mean it’s in intensive care with the DfT desperately fighting to save it? πŸ’ͺ

There has been a lot of controversy of late over the extension of IR35 to the private sector. To be really honest, it doesn’t bother me too much. I have contracts both inside and outside IR35 and it always depends on what you have to do and the management chain supervising the work. For roles inside IR35, I’m quite happy to be treated like any other employee and have income tax and national insurance deducted at source. What I’m not so keen on is when the employer deducts the employer national insurance from your day rate as well! Where is the fairness in that? πŸ‘€

I attended my first CER meeting via Skype earlier this month and its remarkable how quickly one adapts to large meetings over the Internet. 17 people from all over Europe attended and heard the latest progress regarding the OPE TSI. This meant that the meeting was largely taken up with understanding the latest ERTMS change requests that have railway operations implications in readiness to express our opinions on them in August. πŸ›€οΈ

With all the demonstrations going on at the moment, it has given me pause for thought as I think of all the black (and other members of the BAME community) colleagues that have helped me through my railway career and even before that. Without their help my life would not have been so rich nor would I have enjoyed my time on the railway quite so much and so I thank each one of you and can truly say that Black Lives Matter. πŸ–€

I hope everyone reading this is staying safe and well. Don’t hesitate to comment on this message, good natured debate is constructive. πŸ‘



Roberts’ Reflections – Railway Operations in the Limelight!

Dear Readers,

I don’t believe that this is the right time for rants, perhaps it will never be so again. I have, therefore, decided to change this blog’s name as you can see.

It is also the right time to metaphorically applaud all those front line railway workers who are truly putting their customers first by running an excellent train service for key workers. Its amazing what can be achieved when all the management stay at home 😊.

I have spent the last few weeks at home firstly finalising a project for the Rail Delivery Group and then starting a new one with Network Rail. This, with ongoing work for RSSB, has kept me out of mischief and not requiring to go on 260 mile journeys πŸ€”

Over the last couple months, HS2 has received formal government approval and has resulted in productive work sites up and down the country. πŸ‘

I’m also very grateful for the webinars being put on by the Rail Industry Association. I am particularly looking forward to the next set on Unlocking Innovation at the end of June – Get involved if you can! ☺️

Talking of webinars, the one I heard last Friday was with Nick King, Managing Director of Network Services (part of Network Rail) reiterating the need to put railway operations back to the forefront of the industry – I couldn’t agree more! The ‘Home Safe Everyday’ message is effective and easily understood. Can we find one for Railway Operations – perhaps, Train on time, Every Time! πŸš‚

Email Steve.safety@hotmail.co.uk or reply to this blog if you have something you want to say. As ITV keep telling us Let’s Get Britain Talking!

Stay safe!