Rail Transportation

Railroad association white paper touts safety improvements

freight train
Photo: Leadinglights/iStockphoto

Washington — The railroad industry says its investment in safety is paying off with significant decreases in train incidents and rail worker injuries.

In a white paper released in March, the Association of American Railroads cites Federal Railroad Administration data for 2000-2023 that shows a drop in train incidents (27%), worker injuries (50%), hazmat incidents (75%) and collisions (62%).

AAR says railroads “strive to reduce the frequency and severity of all accidents through daily, tangible safety initiatives.” This involves a focus on comprehensive worker training programs that instill a “safety first” culture.

Other claims:

  • Sustained private investment in infrastructure, equipment and safety technologies – averaging more than $23 billion a year – fueled innovations that safeguard railroad operations.
  • Instilling a high level of safety awareness also involved adopting new technologies such as remote-controlled locomotives and drones, improving worker performance, and creating a safer work environment.
  • Last year, freight railroads trained 35,500 first responders in local communities and 1,800 more at the Security and Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, CO – the nation’s leading hazmat response training facility.

Technology innovations have included brake system innovations, trackside detectors and automated track inspections to identify equipment issues before an incident occurs. The report calls on FRA to encourage the adoption and expansion of both ATI and the Brake Health Effectiveness program to enhance safety.

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