Monday, October 01, 2012

Train accidents again down sharply

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

Continuing a three-year decline, train accidents on U. S. railroads dropped 19.2% to 980 in this year's first seven months, compared with the same period last year, according to a preliminary account by the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis.

Collisions were down 20.6% to 77 and the number of derailments declined 17.9% to 719. Yard accidents were down 14.5% to 549 compared with last year's January-July period.

There were 11 employee fatalities in this year's firsh seven months, down by one employee when compared with the same period in 2011.

As always, trespassing and grade crossing fatalities, for which railroads are not held responsible, drove the number of rail-related deaths up. Trespassing fatalities increased 23.4% to 274, while fatalities at grade crossings declined 13.5% to 134.