MOST of the people killed in railway accidents in the European Union during 2005 were using level crossings or unlawfully entering railway property, according to statistics released by the European Railway Agency on May 31. The ERA report shows that 29% of the 1464 fatalities occurred at level crossings.There were 7 023 'significant train accidents' across the 25 countries that now make up the EU in 2005, with 62 passenger deaths. A significant train accident is defined as 'any accident involving at least one rail vehicle in motion, resulting in at least one killed or seriously injured person, or in significant damage to stock, track, other installations or environment, or extensive disruptions to traffic.' Accidents in workshops and depots are excluded. ERA specifies that suicides and other 'intentional acts' such as stone-throwing should be excluded from the data submitted by member states, but this may not be the case for all countries. Definitions of significant damage and extensive disruption have not yet been harmonised between countries, making direct comparisons difficult.'To tackle level crossings and other safety issues, the European Railway Agency is developing common methods to measure safety performance, setting targets at member-state level and checking their achievement. In addition, for any significant change introduced, a common methodology for risk assessment will have to be used. These projects will lead to recommendations to the European Commission,' said ERA Executive Director Marcel Verslype.'One of our initiatives to help improve safety on the railways is the development of a common European database for reporting accidents, recording safety performance and logging the results of accident investigations.'By comparison, in 2005 there were 41 500 fatalities in 1 272 000 accidents on the roads. 'These statistics show that travelling by rail is relatively safe' said Verslype. The full report can be downloaded at http://www.era.europa.eu/public/safety/documents/safety_performance/07-05%20ERA-Report2.pdf
Accidents and fatalities by country, 2005
|Country||Total number of |
|Total number of |
fatalities in accidents
|All EU-25 countries||7023||1464||62|
- Malta and Cyprus do not have railway networks.
- Definitions of 'significant damage' and 'extensive disruption' vary between countries.