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Railhub Archive
2000-05-26 RSA-002
Railway Safety


New era for rail industry safety

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Railway Safety

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Railway Safety

New era for rail industry safety

26 May 2000
source Railway Safety
type Press release

Success in key areas of safety have been overshadowed by the dramatic effects of the Ladbroke Grove tragedy, a safety report revealed today.

The rail industry's Year End Safety Performance Report states that Ladbroke Grove has dominated the key performance areas of the report and has led to the industry re-examining every aspect of safety management.

The Railway Group report was today made public for the first time in a new move aimed at demonstrating the industry is more open and accountable for its performance.

Aidan Nelson, deputy director, Safety and Standards Directorate, and one of three newly-appointed directors of Railway Safety - the new company that will take over the industry role for safety and standards in the Railway Group - said: "Progress has been made in some important areas but, in a year where the single event of Ladbroke Grove has dominated the statistics, the industry has much to do to restore public confidence."

Achievements detailed in the report include:

o total SPADs in 1999/2000 were the lowest since records began in 1985;
o 4% improvement in the number of broken rails; accidental fatalities at level crossings in 1999/2000 were the second lowest number recorded;
o a 20% improvement in the overall derailment rate per million train miles in 1999/2000, narrowly improving on the all-time low achieved in 1997/98;
o major injuries to passengers at stations the lowest for a decade;
o a reduction in the number of number of passenger trespasser fatalities;
o despite a further reduction from the 1994/5 peak in recorded line of route offences, vandalism remains a major threat to railway safety.

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

o passenger accident fatalities - dominated by the tragedy at Ladbroke Grove;
o trespasser fatalities and passenger assaults and robbery - each of which is a wider issue for society as well as the railway;
o category B SPADs - those resulting from a signal which reverts to red for technical reasons (e.g. power failure); these are not associated with risk of derailment or collision;
o unsafe acts by contractors and major injuries to the contractor workforce.

Ladbroke Grove accounts for some of these poor statistics but ironically the industry's performance in reducing SPADs and collisions and derailments per million train miles did not indicate an increase in the underlying level of risk from train accidents.
Aidan Nelson said: " Without in any way detracting from the tragedy of Ladbroke Grove it is important that the industry addresses safety improvement on a broad front in order to achieve the declared ten year objective of halving safety loss by 2009."

Introduction of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) over the next three years will mitigate more than 70% of the risk associated with signals passed at danger. Further mitigation will come from the initiative to install the European standard automatic train protection system (ERTMS) on high speed routes.

For further information please contact
Alison Flynn on 020 7904 7524

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-05-26 RSA-002


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