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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA: U.S. railroads report fewer train accidents, grade crossing collisions in 2007's first half


U.S. railroads posted progress on the safety front during the year’s first half. Thirty-four states registered fewer train derailments and collisions compared with safety data from 2006’s first half, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Railroads also reported 246 fewer train accidents, representing a 16.8 percent year-over-year decrease. Eleven states registered a drop in train accidents, ranging from 49 fewer accidents in Texas to 12 fewer in Wyoming, according to preliminary FRA data. Overall, train derailments decreased 14.3 percent and train-to-train collisions declined 12.1 percent compared with first-half 2006 data.

In addition, the train accident rate fell 15.5 percent year over year to 3.07 per million train miles even through the number of train miles traveled declined slightly in the first half, the FRA said.

Preliminary FRA data shows accidents caused by human error and track issues decreased 13.9 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively, year over year. Incidents caused by signal problems dropped 37 percent and accidents caused by equipment failure fell 10.3 percent.

The FRA also reported that grade crossing collisions decreased 8.5 percent, crossing fatalities declined 11.5 percent and trespasser fatalities fell 5.9 percent compared with first-half 2006 data.

“We are making real progress when it comes to improving safety on the nation’s rail system,” said FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/25/2007