Professor Anson Jack MA (Oxon), FCILT, FSARS

Anson Jack

Department of Civil Engineering
Director, International Railway Benchmarking

Contact details

Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education
Gisbert Kapp Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Jack works within BCRRE to promote international railway benchmarking and other research, and to develop the extensive international relationships the University has already established across the globe.

He began his career at British Rail where he joined as a graduate trainee in 1979. He also worked at Railtrack and Network Rail, before joining RSSB in 2003. His credentials also include membership of: the Technical Advisory Board of the International High Speed Rail Association, based in Tokyo and being an advisor to the SNCF Board on safety. Previously he has been on the Transportation Research Board Committee for the review of the Federal Railroad Administration research and development programme; the Organising Committee for the World Congress on Railway Research, and the UK rail industry’s Technical Strategy Leadership Group. He was a founder director of the European Infrastructure Managers (EIM).


  • MA (Oxon)


Teaching  3rd Year Undergraduates in Railway Engineering, MSc in Rail Systems Integration and Rail Risk and Safety Management.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervising PhDs in Rail Safety and Performance, Level Crossing evaluation, Sustainability of High Speed Railways, Governance of Heritage Railways, Evaluation of Platform Screen Doors, Safety approvals for projects and the Translation of Strategy into Action


Climate Change, Regulation, Standards, Safety, integration of all of these with engineering

Other activities

International partnerships, development of industry relationships


Professor Jack’s expertise lies in the development of policy in matters such as strategy, European affairs, research, investment, safety, international comparisons and international relationships. He has built this up over many years working in the rail sector in the areas of strategy, safety, regulation and European affairs

Policy experience

Most of Professor Jacks’ experience has been gained within the rail sector, either through his employment or as a consultant. All of those things listed below have been his direct responsibility, and he has led the development of policy through to its being adopted through the relevant decision making bodies or authorities.  In most cases his responsibility included being a Board member with the relevant responsibility. Notable experience includes:

  • Being the personal adviser to the Chief Executive of Railtrack 1997-2000 – developing policy positions, preparing him for public appearances in front of the Transport Select Committee and Ladbroke Grove public inquiry etc
  • Line responsibility within Railtrack for the production of the annual regulatory statement of future plans – the Network Management Statement (1999 and 2000)
  • Development of the rail industry policy on the regulatory treatment of investment as part of the first regulatory review 1999/2000
  • Developed relationships with independent infrastructure managers and led the process to create the European Rail Infrastructure Managers organisation (EIM) which still exists today and has a distinct role in the representation of the rail sector before the European commission
  • Advised the DfT on the handling of EU decisions in the area of railway standards, and supported DfT representative at meetings on the EU Decision body in Brussels
  • Briefing of and working in small team with Administrators when Railtrack was in ‘railway administration’ 2001-2
  • Development of an approach to private sector involvement, an open access policy and the policy documents to support it, through to Cabinet approval for the Government of Sri Lanka (1998)
  • Developed and secured industry wide agreement to  a strategy of the management of rail industry standards – particularly reflecting the emerging EU suite of legislation and standards (2007)
  • Development of an industry agreed approach to valuing lives as part of the decision-making process for compliance with Health and Safety law – including rolling out its application to investment decisions 2008
  • Development of an industry approach to the restraining of passengers during railway accidents – used detailed research to support a policy position that ruled out seat belts and resulted in changed standards for protection and escape from trains (2007/8)
  • Development of revised industry standards for train horns and their use – led the introduction of a quiet period at night when horns are no longer routinely sounded (2006)
  • Created Rail Research UK Association in conjunction with Universities - secured Board approval to fund the same for 5 years and was industry co chair of body from inception to 2014
  • Member of the technical advisory board of the International High Speed Rail Association 2014 – present
  • Member of Committee of international experts that advises SNCF on safety 2014-Present
  • Identified the opportunity for and led the early development of the bid for RPIF funds that has led to the creation of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network through a £28m Grant and enhanced industry / university collaboration
  • Special Advisor to the Transport Select Committee for their inquiry into rail infrastructure investment 2018
Currently supervising PhDs working on the translation of policy and strategies into plans and actions, the economic consequences of different technical choices in high speed railways, the relationship between safety and performance, sustainable development and high speed railways, new approaches to safety approvals, evaluation of options for adjustments/new technologies on level crossings, the economic consequences of platform scree doors, The governance of Heritage Railways, Power  in the rail sector, Engineering leadership, Benchmarking health and wellbeing and Optimising the Platform Train Interface.