Heritage Rail Safety and Standards Board

Heritage Rail Safety and Standards Board

This page is intended to give a brief outline of the Heritage Railway Safety and Standards Board. It is not intended to be exhaustive, merely to give a flavour of the work going on. Further information will be added as work progresses and HRA members will be kept up to date.



In June 2018, in the wake of the Croydon tram incident at Sandilands and the consequent RAIB report, the ORR’s Chief Inspector of Railways stated to the HRA that it should seriously consider establishing a safety and standards board dedicated to heritage rail. ​

He noted that it was a response to the significant incident and loss of life at Sandilands that created the LRSSB and further noted that the RSSB was established following the Public Inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove disaster. ​

The heritage rail sector has not yet had a comparable significant incident. ​

The ORR and the HRA believe that, without continuing improvements to safety, consistency of approach and the establishment of standards for the sector, all the risks remain:​

​It should be noted that the HRA has no mandate or statutory authority to dictate to heritage railways. ​
Nonetheless, with the encouragement of the ORR and a number of the leading heritage railways, plus the unanimous approval by HRA members at the 2020 AGM, the HRA has progressed the formation of a safety and standards board for the sector​.


Timeline to date

2018 - the ORR asked the HRA to consider the establishment of a dedicated safety and standards board for heritage rail … Not an easy task or straight-forward to implement!​

2019 - the HRA tasked itself with taking this forward and communicating to members, receiving unanimous member support at the February 2020 AGM​​

2020/21 – Covid. Steering group established and some initial scoping undertaken​

2022 - Planning and scoping work completed, financial business plan established, and funding requirements identified. Sought government funding​

2023 – Alternative sources of funding investigated. Worked with ORR to justify to Government establishing a dedicated safety and standards board for heritage rail and the rationale behind our ask to Government (DfT) for funding.


Why is the proposed solution the most appropriate one?


How will it work?



Not only the production of documents but also the stewardship, publication and arrangement for secure access​


Standards and guidance

Everything produced will be fully aligned with, and seen as supporting documents for, delivery of a Risk Management Maturity Model Heritage (commonly known as 'RM3H') improvement cycle.​


Anticipated outcomes




Future governance

The Board will comprise:​


The Board will report quarterly to the HRA board and, for information purposes, to the ORR​.

The Board will produce a publicly available annual report.



As well as normal company financial auditing, the board will ensure there is independent scrutiny and assessment on progress against objectives.


What's next ... 2024 to 2027

The aspiration is that the heritage rail sector is self-reliant. To get there, it currently needs guidance, support and external funding​

​Objectives of the HRA:​

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