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How we assessed safety for Crossrail: applying Common Safety Methods (CSM) to civil works

Event organised by Railway Civil Engineers' Association

26 January 2023

This event has now ended

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The railway Common Safety Methods (CSM) describe how the safety levels, the achievement of safety targets and compliance with other safety requirements should be fulfilled, with a series of standard processes applied across Europe to facilitate railways and the railway supply industry operating on an international basis in the same way as road, maritime and air. The Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment (CSM RA) is a legal requirement when making any technical, operational or organisational change to the railway system, which includes constructing a new railway.

Much of the Crossrail Civils works were designed a decade or more ago, before the introduction of CSM RA, but did, of course follow the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations – CDM. However, the authorisation to take Crossrail, as the Elizabeth line, into service in May 2022 required a demonstration of compliance with CSM RA.

The presentation will explain the differences between and similarities of CSM RA and CDM, before going on to explain how the Assessment Body worked with the Crossrail project and with the documentation prepared during the design process to confirm that the CSM RA requirements could be satisfied without retrospective application.

  • CDM is about “build a railway safely”
  • CSM RA is about “build a safe railway”


John Dolan

John Dolan

Ricardo Rail

Principal Consultant

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John Dolan

John is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. During his many years in the railway industry, he has been a track and civils maintenance manager for British Rail, a Principal Inspecting Officer at HM Railway Inspectorate and Implementation Strategist for West Coast Route Modernisation.

As a consultant, he has had, and continues to gain, extensive experience in statutory safety and technical assessment roles for projects including Edinburgh Tram, Great Western Electrification and associated capacity improvement projects and Crossrail, in incident investigation and other Expert Witness work internationally, and in problem-solving consultancy.

For more information please contact:

Fiona Oteng