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UK one of ‘safest rail networks’ in Europe, despite capacity challenges – RSSB

UK rail safety standards are among the best in the world, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) said as they released new figures showing that there have been no passenger or workforce deaths in train accidents for the eighth year in a row.

The figures show that there were 307 fatalities on British railways in 2015, compared to 338 in 2014, of which 294 were due to trespass or confirmed or suspected suicide.

There were also 29 injuries – 24 to passengers, four to staff and one to a member of the public.

George Bearfield, RSSB director of system safety, said: “Our end of year figures serve to highlight that despite the increasing challenge of capacity on the network, the UK still continues to deliver one of the safest rail networks in Europe, if not globally.

“Even though we are pleased to see these results we can’t afford to be complacent as the precursors to train accidents indicate that the potential for a major train accident remains. As an industry we have to collaborate and work together to understand and manage potential risks, with the safety of all those who interact with the railway remaining at the forefront of our minds.”

There were 13 fatalities recorded in 2015, excluding those related to trespass or suicide. Six were passengers, one was a member of the workforce, and six were members of the public. Two pedestrian users of level crossings died as a result of being struck by trains.

Network Rail recently launched a level crossing safety awareness campaign.

However, the last fatal train accident in the UK was the train derailment at Grayrigg in 2007, where one passenger lost her life.

The decrease in railway deaths and injuries comes at a time when revenue and passenger journeys are at a record high.

Only one of the 29 passenger injuries was classified as serious, believed to be that of a 27-year-old woman whose backpack strap was trapped in a train door on 10 April at West Wickham. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch report into the incident called for a review of power operated door systems on trains.

(Image c. A&T)


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