Report on the state of railway traffic safety in 2018


Only 2,39 accidents per 1 million trainkilometres – the lowest rate in 11 years – this indicates that the Polish railway system is really safe. Such is the conclusion of the “Report on the state of the railway traffic safety in 2018”, published by the Office of Rail Transport (Pol. Urząd Transportu Kolejowego, UTK).

In 2018 one could observe the lowest accident indicator since the beginning of such surveys, ie. 2008. Such low level was the result of lower number of accidents on railway lines (by 2,3% in comparison to 2017), taking also into account the rise in the number of operations.

Such low level of accidents is an unquestionable success of all railway market participants. It is also the result of introduction and execution of internal risk management systems at those companies. Activities undertaken by government entities, among those the President of UTK, responsible for safety oversight and monitoring of railway safety, were also of importance in this case.

- Buying a railway ticket and furthermore thinking of the coming journey, one wishes to arrive at the chosen destination in a timely and comfortable fashion. Do we at the time think about the travel’s safety level? In most cases no. It does not stem from our ignorance, but from the fact that railway safety is viewed as a solid value. A value that is treated by railway market participants with utmost attention – says Ignacy Góra, Sc. D., the President of UTK.

Although the number of accidents on railway tracks fell in 2018, the number of deaths in that area rose by 14%. Those were caused by unauthorised entries onto the tracks and accidents at railway crossings. At the same time the level of severely injured during those accidents has dropped by 4,6%.

Almost 75% of accidents on railway tracks happen due to reasons that originate outside the railway system. One of them is the lack of caution on the part of drivers inappropriately using the railway crossings or individual persons crossing railway tracks where they are not allowed to. Such accidents every year are the cause of the biggest problems for the railway system.

The year 2018 also brought a disturbing rise of accidents, where the signal “STOP” on the semaphores was ignored. With such incidents one may attribute the rise of such notifications to the rise of the safety culture level, which in turn results in the rise of the level of such notifications and registered cases.

- One can observe the rise of the level of internal safety culture among railway market participants – notices Kamil Wilde, UTK’s Vice-President for Safety. – This leads to the rising level of registered incidents and other potentially dangerous accidents – he adds.

Such incidents have become subject of a thorough analysis on the part of the President of UTK as well as market's participants. UTK’s President has decided to hold a meeting of the railway safety monitoring team, during which representatives of the carriers were obliged to present remedy programmes, but also to exchange their experiences and good practices in that field. UTK will continue to perform its monitoring activities with regard to such incidents, bearing in mind their essential influence on the railway traffic safety.

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