Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rail accidents down sharply in first quarter

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

The Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis has reported strong safety gains for 726 reporting railroads in this year's first quarter.

Train accidents were down 21.9% to 396 compared with first-quarter 2011. The number of collisions declined 18.2% to 27, and yard accidents were down 16.8% to 218. Total accidents and incidents added up to 2,474, a decline of 10.5% from the 2011 period.

The number of fatalities at highway-rail grade crossings was down 8.6% to 464. Trespasser fatalities increased 49.3% to 106. This accounted for a 25% increase in total rail-related fatalities. There were three employee fatalities, compared with four in last year's first quarter.