Britain’s railways show safety improvements

Risk of fatality in train accidents down 80 per cent over the last ten years.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has published an Overview of Safety performance for 2009, highlighting safety performance on the national rail network.

The report shows safety improvements in Britain’s railways last year, including it being the fourth year out of the last five where there were no passenger or workforce fatalities in train accidents.

Five passengers died in separate incidents in stations, matching 2008's lowest passenger fatality total ever recorded, and one member of the workforce was killed when struck by a train.

There were 13 fatalities at level crossing, with five involving rail vehicle occupants and three fatalities occurring in the same event. Eight pedestrian users died, a decrease of five from 2008.

There were 264 Category A Signals Passed at Danger (SPADs) for 2009, the lowest since records began in 1985 and on the railway, SPAD risk was down by 93 per cent compared to the March 2001 baseline at the end of December.

On the railway, risk to passengers or workforce from fatality in train accidents was down by 80 per cent over the last ten years.

Anson Jack, Director of Policy, Research and Risk said: "A number of key safety performance indicators were at their lowest recorded level in 2009, but the loss of lives at stations, level crossing and among the workforce remind us that risks associated with railways and their interfaces remain and the industry needs to continure to look for effective ways to reduce those risks further."

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