Richard James Ward, known as Jim Ward, was born in 1936. Between 1952-1991 he undertook various Scientific Services posts in British Rail laboratories in Derby, Crewe, and Glasgow. In 1991 he was appointed as the Safety & Quality Director of British Rail Research, staying in this post until 1993. From 1992 to 1993 he worked as Director of Total Quality Management and in 1993 became the Chair of the Safety Case Validation Panel until 1996. He then served as the Chair of Formal Accident Enquiries for the Rail Safety Board from 1996 to 2006.