UK: Best performance in two decades

15 Jul

The number of people dying in level crossing accidents on Britain’s national rail network (Network Rail infrastructure) is at its lowest recorded level for nearly 20 years, according to the latest annual railway safety statistics released by RSSB ton July 13th, 2016.

Only three pedestrians died in accidents at level crossings in the year between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016, Also of note, there have been no passenger or workforce fatalities in train accidents for a record ninth year in a row.  These are two of the areas where the rail industry has retained a sustained focus on the risks, tackling them in an informed and coordinated way.

The industry’s Safety Risk Model (SRM) shows a risk of 11.4 Fatalities and weighted injuries (FWI) per year which falls within the remit of the Level Crossing Strategy Group (LCSG) and comprises 8% of the total mainline system FWI risk. The majority of risk is borne by members of the public with most casualties occurring to road vehicle occupants and pedestrians. Network Rail has put significant resource into reducing the risk at level crossings and successfully met their target of 25% reduction in risk at the end of Control Period 4 (CP4) March 31st 2014).

There were three fatalities at level crossing during 2015/16, all were pedestrian users. This is the lowest number of level crossing fatalities recorded since 1996/97. The overall level of harm at level crossing was 3.7 FWI, compared with 11.8 FWI for 2014/15.

At four, the number of train collisions with vehicles at level crossings was the lowest over the past ten years. The number of such accidents is relatively low, and shows quite some variability, but the generally lower numbers over the duration of CP4 are reflective of an improvement in level crossing risk. This is supported by a reducing trend in the recorded number of near misses with road vehicles at level crossings.

Improving level crossing safety is a major focus for the industry. Network Rail has substantial safety improvements planned for CP5, which runs from April 2014 to March 2019, and which build upon the 31% reduction in level crossing risk achieved during the course of CP4. At the end of 2015/16 Network Rails’s LCRIM model, which tracks changes in the aggregate risk at level crossings, stood at 12.3 FWI, compared with 12.8 FWI at the end of 2014/15.

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