FRA announces safety guide, accident decline

Posted on March 4, 2008

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a guidance document to help minimize accidents due to gaps between the edge of a passenger station platform and the threshold of a passenger train door.  

The “FRA Approach to Managing Gap Safety” addresses the use of engineering evaluation and analysis to establish gap standards and the application of strategies to prevent and reduce gap accidents. A copy of the full document can be found at  http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1963.  

In addition, U.S. Department Secretary Mary E. Peters announced that the number of train accidents across the nation has decreased, according to preliminary 2007 data, and that there have been 833 fewer train accidents, or a 24.6 percent reduction, when comparing the period from 2004 to 2007. Peters pointed out that some of the safety gains can be attributed to implementation of the FRA’s National Rail Safety Action Plan, launched in May 2005.  

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman said that in 2007, the FRA added two new automated track inspection vehicles to its fleet, enabling the agency to triple the number of track-miles inspected annually; announced approval of new Positive Train Control (PTC) technology for deployment in regular freight rail service; issued a proposed rule to encourage expanded use of safer Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) train braking systems; and undertook several wide-ranging grade crossing safety initiatives.  

In 2008, the FRA has issued a final rule designed to reduce common operating practice mistakes that result in nearly half of all human factor-caused train accidents.

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