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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA stats show U.S. roads continue to prevent accidents and fatalities, AAR says


Through 2006’s first half, U.S. railroads remained on course to post their best-ever safety statistics in a given year, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The roads’ six-month train accident rate of 3.39 per million train miles was 4.2 percent lower than the full-year record of 3.54 per million train miles set in 1997 and 18.4 percent below first-half 2005’s accident rate. The number of train accidents dropped 16.1 percent and yard accidents — which comprise more than half of all train accidents — declined 20 percent compared with first-half 2005 data.

In addition, the six-month employee casualty rate decreased 9.9 percent, total employee fatalities fell 54.5 percent and rail-related fatalities dropped 5.9 percent. The first-half grade crossing incident rate declined 2.7 percent but total number of fatalities increased 5.8 percent compared with first-half 2005 data. Meanwhile, the six-month trespasser incident rate dropped 3.6 percent while the total number of fatalities remained the same.

Railroads are posting progress despite numerous safety challenges, such as moving record freight volumes, adding thousands of new employees to their ranks, and maintaining more tracks, signals and equipment, the AAR said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/13/2006