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Railhub Archive
2000-11-08 RSA-001
Railway Safety


Progress in key areas of safety overshadowed by Hatfield accident

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Railway Safety

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Railway Safety

Progress in key areas of safety overshadowed by Hatfield accident

8 November 2000
source Railway Safety
type Press release

Progress in key safety areas has been marred by the Hatfield train accident, a rail industry safety report revealed today.

The report, which covers the six months from 2 April to 16 September 2000 and does not include the Hatfield accident, ironically shows a drop in the number of train collisions, derailments and buffer stop collisions.

Key statistics in the Railway Group Half Year Safety Performance Report (2000/2001) also highlights a 35 per cent reduction in the rate of category A SPADs.

The report - collated and published by Railtrack's Safety and Standards Directorate on behalf of the industry, describes safety performance against objectives set out in the industry's Railway Group Safety Plan 1999/2000 (RGSP).

Safety and Standards' deputy director Aidan Nelson said the industry's improvement in these key areas such as SPADs was significant in the wake of last year's accident at Ladbroke Grove.

He said: "Train collisions and buffer stop collisions are down five per cent on last year and derailments show a 14 per cent improvement - 18 per cent better than average. However this is all cold comfort in the light of the Hatfield accident, which was the first derailment due to a broken rail since 1983 which has resulted in fatalities."

Progress detailed in the report includes:

o category A SPADs - 35 per cent lower than the last four-year average
o a reduction in less serious Category B SPADs - where signals fail safe - for the first time since records began
o the number of significant train accidents down 34 per cent on last year
o a nine per cent drop in train collisions, derailments and bufferstop collisions

Mr Nelson said: "The reduction in SPADs is welcomed and can be seen across all train operating groups. However as an industry we must continue to focus on those SPADs that can have higher potential consequences and raise our sights in respect of starting against signal SPADs".

However other areas have not seen improvement. Those where progress has not been made or which have worsened include:

o a doubling in the past two years in the number of major injuries (fractures, dislocations etc) to passengers alighting from trains
o a steep increase in the number of violent attacks recorded on the railway, particularly robbery
o a two per cent increase in the overall number of accidental equivalent fatalities (all people accidentally killed or injured on the railway)
o an 11 per cent increase in accidental fatalities to members of the public (i.e. level crossing users and trespassers)
o a 13 per cent increase in trespasser accidental fatalities
o a 70 per cent increase in trespasser major injuries

Mr Nelson said: "The industry has to work on two fronts to improve public safety. There are those who are injured or killed whilst travelling as passengers who have placed their trust in the railways. There are also those who are injured or killed by abusing the network through trespass or vandalism. The industry needs to tackle safety in both these areas if its long term target to halve the number of accidental deaths and injuries by 2009 is to be met."


Contact Alison Flynn on 020 7904 7524 for further information.


Concerns about operational safety on the Railway should be reported to Railtrack's 24-hour helpline on 0845 711 4141.

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-11-08 RSA-001


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