The lifeblood of the nation has long flowed down the arteries offered by rail. Now, though, the coronavirus is among us, bringing unprecedented conditions and unprecedented ways of working. Still the railway carries on, but our focus is on getting critical workers and critical goods where they need to be as quickly as possible. Suddenly, the job is more important than at any time since the Second World War.

We want to ensure you have access to the right tools and information to help you manage the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic at this challenging time so we built a COVID-19 resource hub. What do you need to know this month? RSSB has published a new version of Leading health and safety on Britain’s railway. Britain’s railways are among the safest in the world, but this is because the industry has a good record of getting to grips with the risks it faces and targeting intervention collaboratively where required. The updated strategy sets out the areas where we need to work together to achieve a step change in health and safety performance, while recognising that there are still significant risks involved in SPADs, trespass and workforce safety. We also publish a quarterly LHSBR progress report, which includes safety performance data as well as details of what industry is doing to meet the strategy’s aims and objectives. See the March 2020 Progress Report for the latest information.

Your regular news Rail safety review In edition #38, we discuss the new situation brought about by the coronavirus and provide links to what RSSB is doing to help. We also continue our series on signalling standards and consider a new Rail Industry Standard on route knowledge. The ‘SPAD good practice guide’ brings together the latest research and industry know-how on managing SPAD risk.

The March 2020 rail investigation summary includes the collision that occurred on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark during January 2019 and a shunting collision the Czech Republic that took place the following April. The key themes this month involve freight train preparation, track worker safety and rolling contact fatigue.

Periodic safety performance report

These reports look wider than SPADs to provide information on fatalities, reportable train accidents and accident precursors for the period in question.

The March 2020 Rail Accident and Incident News includes a TGV collision in France, a train fire in Romania and a number of freight derailments in North America. Key themes involve fuel spillages, weather conditions and earthworks failures.

Signals passed at danger (SPADs) have been a focus of the industry for many years, having been causal to many fatal accidents in the past. RSSB continues to monitor them.

RED and Right Track reach out to the front line with safety messages about the operational railway. The former emphasises key learning points with a dramatisation. The latter captures, shares and promotes safety learning and initiatives across the industry.

Our Level crossing digest, a vital corporate memory aid for all who work with the road-rail interface, is now available to members.