Rail safety in 2022


The Polish railways are safe, but this level of safety must be taken care of all the time and efforts must be made to eliminate potential risks and possible threats – wrote Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport in the introduction to the “Report on the state of railway safety. 2022”. The report shows that the accident rate is maintaining a decreasing trend, which means that the safety of the railway system is increasing. Still, more than 70% of accidents on the railway network are incidents caused by car drivers and pedestrians.

2022 is the first in 15 years in which no accident on the rail network has been classified as serious. 644 accidents were recorded (517 on railway lines and 127 on sidings). When Compared to 2021, the number of accidents decreased by 18 (2.7%). There were also 7 accidents reported on narrow-gauge railway lines in 2022, one less than in the previous year.

165 people died in accidents in 2022 – 16 more than in 2021. The increase in the number of casualties – from 101 to 124 – was significant and these were accidents involving people and moving railway vehicles. The number of fatalities at level crossings was 41, 7 fewer than in 2021.

The accident rate, i.e. the number of accidents per million train-km, was 1.89 in 2022. There is a favourable change by 0.8 as compared to 2021. The downward trend of the accident rate compared to previous years was maintained.

The vast majority, i.e. more than 70% of accidents, were incidents at level crossings and involving persons. Within the rail system, areas of concern from a safety point of view are incidents involving failure to stop a railway vehicle before a stop signal (so-called SPAD), accidents during construction works and incidents related to the technical condition of rolling stock.

The whole railway system – infrastructure managers, operators, rolling stock and equipment manufacturers, but also national and European administrations – should analyse which areas are sensitive and where additional measures should be taken. Such measures are being taken by the Office of Rail Transport and this is what the just published in our “Report on the State of Railway Safety. 2022”. In accordance with our comprehensive annual study, we direct our initiatives to where we should expect an increased risk to the railway system. This was the case, for example, with the Examination and Monitoring Centre for Train Drivers and the introduction of state examinations for train drivers. – states Ignacy Góra, President of the Office of Rail Transport.

The introduction by the Office of Rail Transport of state examinations for the licence and the first train driver's certificate, effective from 2023, was supported by many years of data analysis. Moreover, statistics from the last year confirm the need for better verification of the knowledge and skills of those entering the train driving profession. Drivers with the least experience of less than five years in 2022 were involved in as many as 38% of SPAD incidents, while representing 21% of the total number of drivers. Special attention should be paid to the group of drivers with less than one year of experience, who were involved in 7% of SPAD incidents, representing 2% of active drivers. In all other groups of train drivers, the proportion of SPAD incidents is lower than their share of the total number of drivers.

The President of the Office of Rail Transport also undertakes a number of other additional systemic activities to increase the level of railway safety, from education of the youngest by the ABC Railway Campaign II, trainings and workshops by the Railway Safety Academy to the promotion of safety culture. An important part of ur activities are initiatives such as an introduction of automatic monitoring systems on the level crossings automatically detecting car drivers' offences on a similar basis to speed cameras. An initiative of the President of the Office of Rail Transport is also the implementation of the European Train Control System (ETCS) in the Limited Supervison version where installation of the system in full functionality was not planned.

Projects: Driver Examination and Monitoring System, Railway Safety Academy and ABC Railway Campaign II are co-financed from European Funds.

Our “Report on the State of Railway Safety. 2022” is available.

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