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Sector Leaders Join Tram Safety Board

By Daniel Hill

A new safety body drawing on experience and expertise from across the light rail sector has now been established under the leadership of Chief Executive, Peter Cushing.

Set up in response to a report into the 2016 derailment of a tram in Croydon, an accident that resulted in the tragic deaths of seven people, the Light Rail Safety Standards Board (LRSSB) is now responsible for driving forward safety standards.

The organisation recently received £1.5 million government funding and is set to build on the significant work already undertaken by a safety steering group established by UK Tram – the organisation representing the country’s light rail sector.

In announcing the appointment of new LRSSB Board members, the Mr Cushing, said: “Since the publication of a detailed report into the accident a great deal of work has already been undertaken to address the issues it raised.”

“The LRSSB is now well placed to take these efforts to the next level. Light rail is already one of the safest forms of public transport and we intend to help the industry improve its standards even further.”

Details of the new members of the non-executive board are as follows:

Phil Hewitt, West Midlands Metro Director – appointed as LRSSB Interim Chairman:
Phil began his career in public transport in 1988 with London Underground and eight years later he joined Transport for London, holding positions including Head of London Trams and Director of London Tramlink.

Between 2012 and 2015, as Chief Executive of Tramlink Nottingham, he oversaw the Phase 2 extension of the city’s tram network before moving to the West Midlands to lead the region’s major on-going tram network expansion programme. He is also a former Chairman of UK Tram.

Bob Morris, Chief Operating Officer for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)
As an Executive Director of TfGM, Bob is accountable for safety and standards and the delivery of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s transport policies. As Chief Operating Officer he is also responsible for the delivery of a £3 billion capital programme, including the expansion of Metrolink, which has trebled in size to become the UK’s largest light rail network.

Bob is a highly respected ambassador for TfGM and the wider transport industry.

Carl Williams, Director of Operations, Midland Metro Ltd
Carl brings a wealth of operational experience to the organisation, having worked in the sector for over 25 years. In addition to fulfilling roles as director and general manager of light rail operations and maintenance subsidiaries, he’s also spent a number of years as a light rail project developer for leading UK and European public transport operators.

During his career he has held senior positions at Manchester Metrolink, Edinburgh LRT and Nottingham Express Transit.

Jonathan Fox, Director, Rail and Sponsored Services – Transport for London
Jon started his career at British Rail in 1986, undertaking various management roles before joining TfL as Director of Rail Projects in 2003. A year later he was appointed Director of Docklands Light Railway.

With the team at London Trams, Jon has led TfL’s response to the Croydon tragedy and has been instrumental in driving through recommendations contained in a Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the accident.

David Nicholls, HSQE Director, KeolisAmey Metrolink
As HSQE Director at KeolisAmey Docklands, David led on the development and implementation of safety management systems in the business.

A Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner, David is now based at Metrolink where he brings a breadth of experience and knowledge in the management of operational risk, regulatory compliance and competence management.

Following the Board announcements, Phil Hewitt commented: “The broad experience and expertise offered by the new board members will help ensure a joined-up approach to light rail safety that will deliver significant benefits for operators and the travelling public alike.

“Our clear aim is to draw on the experiences of light rail operators in the UK and, indeed, across the world to ensure we can continue to raise the bar in terms of best practice.”