Why collaboration and a community approach are the best way forward for a safer railway

First published in Rail Business Daily on 30 August 2022.

Collaboration has been a key theme running through the railway industry over the last few years and we are seeing a mind shift that is changing the way the industry is working.

A good example is the collaboration between Atkins and Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio and Train Rail Infrastructure Solutions to develop OLE-StAT, an advanced signal processing tool used to evaluate as-fitted dropper compliance on the Overhead Line Equipment.    This solution builds on Network Rail’s existing Measurement Train (NMT) infrastructure, helping to remove the need for staff to be physically present on the side of tracks, using data to further analyse and predict potential issues before they’ve occurred.

From left to right: Elaine Laverick from Avanti, Rosie Alexander from GWR and Annabelle Marks from SWR

Safety has always been a core focus for the industry – keeping staff and passengers safe – so it makes sense for TOCs to come together to share learnings and best practice to demonstrate how they are managing the competence within their own organisations to maintain a safer railway.

AssessTech are the world’s leading electronic competence management provider for the railway, whose annual user forum is completely focused on bringing the industry together to share ideas, best practice and unlock industry wide solutions. And this year’s event taking place on Thursday 17th November in London will do just that.  The theme for 2022 is Connecting and Collaborating across the Railway Community, where global operations and engineering teams will explore collaboratively how competence management needs to evolve to meet the needs of the sector going forward.

A group of forward-thinking women from across the UK railway sector have already joined forces to discuss the challenges they are collectively facing around this area. 

Discussions at AssessTech’s User Forum last year highlighted that many of us were facing similar issues around our competence management and learning and development processes; we were independently struggling to find solutions and not always making optimal decisions. We felt there was a need to get together so we could share, and sense check our ideas, discuss common barriers with like-minded individuals and ensure we were aligned to industry standards. This resulted in the creation of our ACMS industry working group.
Rosie Alexander

Great Western Railway

Incidents, experiences and issues across TOCs will differ but often the lessons learnt are the same. As an industry we all share the same responsibilities, and the aim of this working group is to share this knowledge so we can all be the best that we can be. We are using this as an opportunity to influence the evolution of AssessTech’s solutions which will benefit the whole industry, not just SWR.
Annabelle Marks

Southwestern Railway

We feel by getting together to share learning and best practice we can help guide each other about how we all use AssessTech’s electronic competence management solution, ACMS. Already we have shared knowledge of how PID can be utilised, resulting in a more efficient post incident process. We want to widen this working group out to other individuals from across the industry and are planning a more formal workshop in September.
Elaine Laverick

Avanti West Coast

If you want to get involved in this working group contact info@assesstech.com to find out more.

As an industry we can no longer work in silos. We need to consider how we work smarter – sharing learning and best practice and working together to find solutions that align to industry standards. It is great to see SWR, GWR and Avanti taking the lead in this area. We are 100% committed to supporting industry initiatives such as these.
Gabriel Stroud

CEO, AssessTech