A major advance in the quest to raise standards within the rail industry was made when the new Institute of Rail Welding (IoRW) was launched at The Royal Society on Monday 22 April. There was a very enthusiastic audience numbering over 200 for this event representing all the major organisations involved in rail track construction and maintenance in the United Kingdom.
The opening session was chaired by Professor Brian Mellitt, President of The Welding Institute. The keynote speaker was David Ventry who is Head of Permanent Way at Railtrack. He spoke of his commitment to the new organisation and how it will increase effectiveness and raise standards in the rail industry. Bevan Braithwaite and Tim Jessop, both of TWI also spoke at the launch session about the objectives of the IoRW and about TWI's contribution to it.
The IoRW will establish new systems to cover competence of key personnel such as welders and welding inspectors, and quality assurance criteria for welder training organisations and welding contractors. They will make use of the well-established principles currently employed by TWI Certification Ltd, for example in the CSWIP scheme.
The Institute of Rail Welding will be used as a means of bringing the various factions of the rail welding community together and to engender a culture of teamwork and continuous improvement.
It will be an open society with an array of valuable, dedicated, services and benefits; for example, a newsletter, a website and a programme of technical events.