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Rail News: Safety

2005 was safest rail year ever, FRA says


Last year was the safest ever for U.S. railroad employees, according to preliminary Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data.

The employee injury rate and number of employee injuries declined 12.7 percent and 9 percent, respectively, compared with 2004, setting new records.

In addition, train accidents were down almost 8 percent and the train accident rate, more than 10 percent.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) credits the reduced employee and train incidents to training programs and increased investment in maintenance. The industry spent more than $17 billion last year to maintain and improve track, equipment, and communications and signaling systems, according to the association.

“Rail traffic was higher than ever before in history, and thousands of new employees were brought on board to help handle that record volume,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Edward Hamberger in a prepared statement. “The fact that railroads were able to reduce both train accidents and employee casualties just underscores the industry’s commitment to safety.”

Meanwhile, the grade crossing incident rate fell 4.2 percent compared with 2004, also setting a new record. The number of grade crossing accidents and fatalities dropped 1.9 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/16/2006