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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. railroads closed in on safest-ever year in 2005, AAR says


Through 2005’s first 11 months, U.S. railroads remained on pace to complete the safest year in the industry’s history, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The employee on-duty casualty rate of 2.26 per 200,000 employee hours dropped 14 percent compared with 2004’s first 11 months, according to a preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) report — the 11th-straight FRA safety data report to show a reduced rate.

The rate is impressive given the thousands of new workers railroads have hired during the past two years, said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement.

“Much of the credit for that reduction has to go to the comprehensive safety training programs developed by the individual railroads,” he said.

FRA data also shows the train accident rate decreased 10.3 percent, grade crossing incident rate dropped 8.4 percent and trespasser incident rate declined 4.8 percent compared with 2004’s first 11 months.

“Improvements like this don’t just happen,” said Hamberger. “They are the result of [workers’] dedication, and the investment of billions of dollars by railroads into infrastructure, equipment and new technology.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/9/2006