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Lowest death toll recorded on EU railways since 2006, but collisions and derailments on rise in 2012

21 October 2013  •  Author: European Railway Agency

The European Railway Agency (ERA) has today published the overview of EU railway safety data for 201 2 . For the first time since 2006, the number of persons killed in railway accidents (suicides excluded) in 28 EU countries was below 1,200. However, the number of collisions and derailments rose for the first time since 2006 .

The data collected by National Safety Authorities of Member States show that 1,133 people were killed and another 1,016 were seriously injured on railways in 2 8 EU countries in 2012; this is the lowest death toll recorded on EU railways since 2006, which was the first year of a common safety data collection in the EU.

This positive trend was driven by a significant decrease of fatalities among unauthorized persons ( 653 persons killed in 2012 , which represents 58% of all fatalities ) . There were 36 passenger and 46 employee fatalities in 2012 , together accounting for 7 % of all fatalities on EU railways. The fatality risk for passengers travelling on board of trains remains however low : 0.1 1 fatalities per billion passenger k ilometers over the past three years. This is close to the risk experienced by aircraft passengers, and about half of risk experienced by coach passengers in Europe.

Railway suicides are reported separately and are not counted under railway safety statistics. They have risen since 2008, with average yearly increase of 4%. There were 2,997 suicide fatalities recorded on EU railways in 201 2.

2,068 significant railway accidents were re ported in 2 8 EU countries in 201 2 . The number of significant accidents fell by 7 % compared to the previous year. However, the number of accidents increased in the categories of collisions, derailment s and level crossing accidents.

Level crossing accidents saw an 11% year – to – year increase in 2012; this constitutes a substantial share of the total number of significant accidents. Member States reported that 373 level – crossing users were killed and 336 were seriously injured in a total of 573 accidents occurring on more than 114 , 120 level crossings in the EU. The number of level crossing user casualties (fatalities and serious injuries) increased by 20% in 2012, a reversal in an otherwise decreasing trend registered over the past five years . It follows a 20% decrease in level crossing user casualties in 2011.

Traffic volumes show a flat trend, with a mod est 1% increase in passenger kilometers and 3% drop in freight train kilometers. Passenger trains ran 3.2 5 billion kilometers in 2012; this represents 79% of all train kilometers.

Railway safety data has been collected by the European Railway Agency since 2006 within the so – called Common Safety Indicators (CSIs), introduced by Annex I of the Railway Safety Directive . Member States have a legal obligation to submit their CSI data from the preceding year to the Agency no later than on 30 September.

The Agency publish es an Overview of safety – related CSIs as soon as data are consolidated. The overview of safety related CSIs for year 201 2 is attached. The CSIs data are reported via, and available through ERAIL system at http://erail.era.europa.eu . The full set of CSI data is made available in the annually published Railway Safety Performance Report . The next issue is due in spring 2014 . Besides the CSI – related information, it also contains details about serious accidents occurring acros s Europe and summary of various analyses carried out b y the Agency . The most recent Safety Performance report in the EU can be accessed here.View graphs here.

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