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Railhub Archive
2003-04-16 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Chief rail accident investigator named

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Rail Accident Investigation Branch

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Department for Transport

Chief rail accident investigator named

16 Apr 2003 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

Carolyn Griffiths was today announced as the Chief Inspector designate of the proposed new Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

Announcing the appointment, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said:

"I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Carolyn Griffiths as Chief Inspector of the new Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

"Too often the focus following a rail accident is finding who is to blame and litigation. The questions that need answering most urgently are: 'what went wrong' and 'how do we avoid this happening again'. The RAIB is being set up to ensure that these questions are addressed with the right priority and as quickly as possible; and to carry out investigations into the prevention of accidents in a broader sense."

Carolyn Griffiths said:

"I am very pleased to have been appointed as Chief Inspector. This is a job that will make a positive difference to the railways in the UK. It is a vital task in terms of improving rail safety and operations and to ensure the travelling public has ongoing confidence in travel by rail.

"The success of the Branch will heavily depend on two key issues: recruiting high calibre personnel to form an expert investigation team; and establishing a clear and robust operating framework which ensures all industry players and others involved in rail accident investigation work together effectively even when under the pressure of an aftermath of an accident.

"I will identify both expert organisations with whom the RAIB might work and personnel for the RAIB; and begin establishing the RAIB's mode of operation.

"I want the RAIB's work and findings to be understood and trusted by the industry and the public alike."

Notes to Editors

1. Carolyn Griffiths is a chartered engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. She has worked through the ranks from shop floor to senior management within various sectors of the railway industry, in operational, technical and policy jobs. She joined British Rail in 1979; after 9 years in various roles including shift supervision and maintenance depot management, she left to establish maintenance operations for the new Mass Rapid Transit in Singapore. She returned to the UK in 1991 as Engineering Director for South Yorkshire Supertram, the tram system then under construction in Sheffield. In 1994 she was appointed as Technical Director of the Office of the Rail Regulator to create and lead a team to advise on train operating and engineering matters of regulation. She moved to the private sector in 1998 with ADtranz as Director New Products and working in both Sweden and the UK. She was then promoted to ADtranz's Corporate HQ in Berlin as Senior Vice President, Business Processes and Quality and was responsible for managing a business wide change program. She left in 2002 and returned to the UK to work as a consultant and has since worked on assignments both in the UK and overseas.

2. Lord Cullen recommended that an independent rail accident investigation body be established on similar lines to the air (AAIB) and marine (MAIB) accident investigation branches. The sole focus of RAIB would be to establish the cause of accidents and promulgate safety lessons, without apportioning blame or liability. The European rail safety directive (still under discussion in Brussels) will also require each EU member state to create a rail accident body independent of both the safety regulator and the industry.

3. The Government published its proposals for RAIB in a consultation document last July. The Railways and Transport Safety Bill, which has completed its Commons' stages and has just been introduced into the Lords, will establish RAIB.

4. The post of Chief Inspector designate of Rail Accidents to head RAIB was advertised in the national media in November, with a closing date of 9 January.

5. Carolyn Griffiths will start in her new post on 26 May.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
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