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Rail News: Safety

Not exactly apples for apples, but reporting railroads improve most safety stats, FRA says


Despite a smaller reporting railroad pool, Federal Railroad Administration's preliminary safety statistics for January and February show quite a few improvements compared with similar 2003 data. FRA compiled the preliminary statistics from 602 reporting railroads compared with 655 last year.

Total accidents and incidents fell 5.4 percent to 2,212, although fatalities increased 8.6 percent to 139. High-rail incidents dropped 4.1 percent while other incidents decreased 8.7 percent to 1,204. In addition, employee fatalities and non-fatal injuries fell 20 percent and 4.1 percent to four and 962, respectively. Non-fatal trespasser injuries decreased 15.7 percent to 43, but trespasser fatalities remained unchanged at 63.

However, train accidents — which were a safety concern throughout 2003 — rose 2.5 percent to 492. Human factor and track causes, and yard accidents dropped 2.1 percent to 184, 7.4 percent to 150 and 7.2 percent to 244, respectively. But derailments increased 3.5 percent to 359, and equipment, signal and miscellaneous causes rose 20.3 percent to 77, 42.9 percent to 10 and 20.3 percent to 71, respectively.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/2/2004