Monday, November 02, 2009

Railroads post new gains in safety

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U.S. rail-related fatalities declined 12.4% to a total of 466 in the 12 months ended Aug. 31, according to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety. Only 12 of these were employee fatalities, down 49.5% from the prior 12-month period.

Trespassing caused 293 deaths, a decline of 8.8%. Highway-rail grade crossing accidents, accountable for 156 lives, also were down 18.3%.

The FRA said 724 large and small reporting railroads recorded 7,019 accidents and incidents in the latest 12-month period, down 18.9% from the prior 12 months.

Train accidents were down 29.1% to 1,222; collisions dropped 28.9% to 91; derailments were off 1.1% to 867. Yard accidents were down 32.7% to 638.

Track causes were blamed for 469 train accidents, down 3.9%; human factors for 412, down 32.2%; signal causes for 28, down 17.8%; and equipment causes for 170, down 17.6%.