Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Train operations notch solid safety gains

Written by  Luther S. Miller, Senior Consulting Editor

In a report posted Dec. 31, the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis described strong safety gains in freight train operations in the first 10 months of 2012.

Total accidents and incidents declined 9.6% to 6,404, and in the key areas of train operations the improvement was even more pronounced. Train accidents dropped 16.5% to 1,413 compared with the same period in 2011. The number of collisions dropped 15.4% to 121, while derailments were down 14.3% to 1,040. Yard accidents were off 13.4% to 806. There were 15 employee fatalities compared with 20 in the 2012 period.

However, rail-related fatalities, covering areas for which the railroads are not directly responsible, saw an increase of 3.2% to 607. Trespasser fatalities increased 9.2% to 380. Fatalities at highway-railroad grade crossings totaled 195, an improvement of 8.0% from 2012.