2007 Rail Accidents Down Almost Seven Per Cent
Source: Railway Association of Canada
Published: February 5th 2008

OTTAWA – Canada’s railways were pleased with their safety results in 2007 and look forward to on-going improvements.

There were 1,282 rail-related accidents in 2007, down 6.9 per cent from 1,378 in 2006 and down 7.8 per cent from an annual average of 1,391 over the past five years. Accidents involving dangerous goods dropped from a five-year average of 210 to 182 in 2007.

Accidents per million train miles – a critical indicator of safety performance in the face of growing traffic -- declined 4.5 per cent to 13.78 last year from 14.43 in 2006 and were down 8.9 per cent in 2007 from 15.01 on average over the past five years.
Figures for fatalities and injuries also improved. Fatalities were down to 86 last year compared with 95 in 2006 with no increase over the past five years. Serious injuries dropped to 54 last year from 70 in 2006 compared with an annual average of 79 over the past five years.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board statistics include highway/railway crossing collisions, trespassing incidents and suicides, even though most of these events are beyond the railways’ control. Progress in reducing these incidents has been significant and steady through proactive public information, education, enforcement and engineering initiatives by the industry, senior governments and their partners at the community level.

Cliff Mackay, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada, said: “Canada’s railways continue to make safety their Number One priority. These results are a clear indication of our commitment to on-going improvements in our safety performance.”

The RAC represents 56 freight and passenger railways operating an average of 775 trains a day in Canada. They transport more than 355 billion revenue tonne-kilometres of freight annually – two-thirds of the surface freight moved in the country -- and carry 65 million commuters and inter-city passengers while generating only three per cent of transport’s greenhouse gas emissions.