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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rails in April record fewer accidents, but one more fatality, BTS says


U.S. railroads' April safety performance would earn an A for accidents and a B for fatalities on an industry report card — rail accidents reached a 10-year low, while rail fatalities increased by one compared with April 2000, according to U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics' (BTS) transportation indicators released Aug. 6.
U.S. rails in April reported 1,142 accidents and incidents, dropping 6.1 percent compared with 1,217 accidents and incidents during the same month last year.
However, April highway-rail incidents increased 5.3 percent to 237 compared with 225 in April 2000, BTS said.
Meanwhile, U.S. rails reported 75 fatalities in April compared with 74 during the same month last year. But highway-rail fatalities dropped 12.5 percent, from 32 in April 2000 to 28 in April 2001.
Railroad-only fatalities — which include U.S. freight and passenger railroad data — also declined in April to 512, a 3.4 percent change from April 2000's 530 rail-only deaths. These include train passengers killed in non-grade crossing accidents; and rail workers (including contractors), non-trespassers and trespassers killed in train accidents, whether on or off the train (except at grade crossings).
Also, 71.4 percent fewer train passengers were killed in both crossing and non-crossing accidents in April (4) compared with the same month last year (14).
However, U.S. freight and passenger railroads reported 421 grade-crossing fatalities in April — a 4.7 percent increase compared with 402 in April 2000.
BTS' transportation indicators also show that the value of surface freight moving by rail in April between the United States and Canada ($5.1 billion), and the United States and Mexico ($2.5 billion) declined compared with the same month last year ($5.4 billion and $2.7 billion respectively).