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Rail News: Safety

Safer rail not just a 'pipe dream,' new report says


Railroads and other industry stakeholders must deploy new technology to combat rail safety accidents, according to a report released today by the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure.

Titled “Back on Track: Bringing Rail Safety into the 21st Century,” the report examines the nation’s aging rail infrastructure and highlights current deficiencies in the rail system.

Using government data, the report’s authors found that about 73 percent of all derailments between 2011 and 2014 were the result of faulty track integrity and human error. Such incidents are likely to continue to occur unless those issues are addressed, according to the report.

"By leveraging best practices and available technologies, we can ensure all measures are in place to prevent future accidents," said alliance Chairman Brigham McCown in a prepared statement.

The report recommends that government, industry, first responders and other "stakeholders" strengthen safety by:

• increasing the use of commercially available technologies to continuously monitor track, equipment and roadbed conditions;
• conducting more effective and more frequent track and rail inspections;
• implementing operational and technological improvements to reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by human error; and
• determining and making public involvement policies and penalties for rail owners and operators who are subject to, but fail to meet, the federal deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, for implementation of positive train control.