Former Chief Inspector, RAIB, to head PACTS Rail Safety group

Former Chief Inspector, RAIB, to head PACTS Rail Safety group

Carolyn Griffiths, founder of the UK’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and Chief Inspector during its first 10 years of operations has accepted the role of Chair of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety Rail Safety Working Party. The unpaid appointment is for three years. Carolyn replaces David Morris, former Chair of CIRAS, who stepped down at the end of 2017. She will be assisted by Vice-Chair, John Abbott, currently Director of External at RSSB and Rail Safety Person of the Year 2016.

PACTS Executive Director, David Davies said,

“I am delighted and very grateful that Carolyn Griffiths has agreed to take on this role at PACTS. To have the former RAIB Chief Inspector in this key position will inject new energy into the Working Party and enable PACTS to step up its thought-leadership role in rail and cross-modal safety.”

“I am also very pleased that John Abbott has agreed to become Vice-Chair and to work with Carolyn. John has worked closely with PACTS on a number of important issues and events for more than a decade. I think this will be a new dream team.”

The appointment follows an open recruitment process last year. PACTS received applications and expressions of interest from a number of high quality candidates.

The PACTS Rail Safety Working Party comprises key stakeholders from across the rail industry. Its role is to advise PACTS on rail safety matters and to help formulate policy. It is also a valuable neutral forum for expert discussion of rail safety policy. In recent years it has proved valuable in understanding cross-modal safety issues such as fatigue, suicides and in-depth accident investigation.

Members of the RSWP are from RAIB, RSSB, ORR, NR, RDG, TOCs, DfT, TfL, ASLEF, RIA, TravelWatch, universities, solicitors and other safety professionals.


Carolyn Griffiths FREng, FIMechE

Carolyn Griffiths is a senior rail industry professional. She has worked in heavy rail, metro and light rail systems. Her roles have been in operations, manufacturing, and consultancy, establishing new rail systems, regulation and managing major projects both in the UK and overseas. She has worked in the private and public sectors. Most recently she founded UK’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and was Chief Inspector during its first 10 years of operations. She is a Non-Executive Director of Irish Rail.

She is the President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and chair of its Board, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Board member of the Engineering Council. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Cranfield University in recognition of her contribution to the rail industry.

John Abbott

John Abbott is a railway professional with extensive experience and a passion for driving sustainable health and safety improvements for passengers, rail workers and the public. He commenced his career with British Rail in 1981 and after extensive commercial, supply chain and engineering experience, joined Railtrack and later Network Rail to lead their procurement operation before later heading the company safety and environment team.  In 2007 he joined the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) to lead the development of cross industry safety improvement programmes and schemes. In 2015 he was appointed as RSSB’s first engagement and communications director. John has extensive experience of international railways and understands risk and putting people at the heart of improving health and safety. He has been an active member of PACTS since 2000 and in 2016 received the Rail Safety Person of the Year award. He is also an active leader of the Rail Industry First Aid Association and a member of St John.


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