Things that have never happened before happen all the time.

Scott D Sagan The Limits of Safety

Spad situation

Drive a mile in my seat: signal design from a systems perspective.

A paper by Dr Anjum Naweed and John Aitken.

sign1512 1

You can get lonely out there!

Keeping in communication with people who are in isolated locations.  A paper by John Aitken.

Red and green buttons


A paper by presented to the International Railway Safety Council.



Enhancing error tolerance, error detection and error recovery to together produce system safety.

Aitken & Partners takes a very broad view of safety; we consider equipment and technical systems in their human environment. This is often described as Functional Safety, although that term is often more limited in its application. Few, if any, organisations are capable of fully addressing all the considerations for functional safety. Our expertise is in the electrical area, particularly in the railway environment. We have particular skills in electromagnetic compatibility, communication systems, locomotives and signalling systems.

"Safety is not the absence of failures. Safety is the presence of defenses." Todd Conklin


Things that go Wrong

Sometimes things do not work as expected. The consequences are often tragic and affect many people directly and indirectly. The railway industry, like many others, seeks to learn from each time that something has gone wrong. Accident investigation reports are made available by many railway investigators and contain very useful analysis of incidents. At Aitken & Partners we study these reports, seeking to increase our understanding and the resilience of systems used by our clients. Some of our findings are in our technical papers, which you are welcome to download.

"The enemy of safety is complexity."

 Behind Human Error, Woods et al, Ashgate 2010 p 23

"Knowledge and error flow from the same mental sources, only success can tell one from another."


Ernst Mach, 1905