The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has published its final annual statistics on accidents/incidents for the rail, air, marine and pipeline sectors for 2021. While total railway accidents were up 5% from 2020, they fell 3% compared with the 10-year (2011-20) average.
TSB gathers and uses transportation occurrence data during its investigations “to analyze safety deficiencies and identify risks in the Canadian rail transportation system,” according to the independent agency.
In 2021, 1,038 railway accidents were reported to the TSB, a 5% increase compared with 2020 (988), but a 3% decrease from the 10-year average of 1,071. Of these, 189 (18%) involved fires on rail right-of-way or on rolling stock, which is a 139% increase from 79 such events in 2020; there was an average of 40 per year from 2011 to 2020.
Freight trains accounted for 38% of all trains involved in rail accidents in 2021. Passenger trains accounted for 4% (42 in total) and the remaining 58% comprised mainly single cars/cuts of cars, locomotives, and track units.
There were 60 rail-related fatalities reported in 2021, unchanged from the previous year and 15% below the 10-year average of 71. Among these, 42 involved trespassers, up from 40 reported in 2020 and from the 10-year average of 40. There were 16 crossing accident fatalities, down from 18 in 2020 and from the 10-year average of 23.
Among all TSB-reported railway accidents, 86 involved dangerous goods, up from 82 in 2020, but down 34% from the 10-year average of 125. Two accidents in 2021 resulted in a dangerous goods release, compared with 3 in 2020, and the 10-year average of 4.
Additionally, there were 194 railway incidents reported to the TSB in 2021, a 15% decrease from 2020 (229). More than half (109) of these were categorized as “movement exceeds limits of authority” incidents—a 27% decrease from 149 reported in 2020 and 16% below the 10-year average of 129.
(For all rail data, scroll down for the statistical summary report.)
Among the 2021 statistics for the other transportation modes: