RSSB, the Rail Safety & Standards Board (although it prefers to be known by the acronym), has been in the limelight recently. Its pronouncement at the end of last year that driver-only operation (DOO) is safe brought excoriation from the RMT union, claiming the organisation is a tool of the train operator owning groups.

It is true that RSSB’s members – about 75 organisations in total, comprising Network Rail and rail industry suppliers as well as operators – supply the body’s funding, but Chief Executive Mark Phillips is adamant that the RSSB is serious about its independence. After all, it was established as an independent not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, separate from Railtrack / Network Rail, in the wake of the 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail accident, precisely because the safety body needed to operate at arm’s length from the industry.

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