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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Railroad System Safety and Property Damage Data

(Excludes highway-rail grade-crossing accidents)

Dataset Table:

Year Fatalities Injured persons(a) Accidents(b) Train-miles (millions)(c,d) 1
1970 785 17,934 8,095 839 2
1975 575 50,138 8,041 755 3
1980 584 58,696 8,205 718 4
1985 454 31,617 3,275 571 5

Embedded Dataset Excel:

Dataset Excel:

table_02_43_040920.xlsx

Notes:

This table includes information for both freight and passenger railroad operations.

Description:

KEY:  N = data does not exist; R = revised.

a 1970 injuries are not comparable to later years due to a change in reporting system.

b Train accidents only; excludes highway-rail grade-crossing accidents.

c Train-miles in this table differ from Train-miles in the vehicle-miles table in Chapter 1. Train-miles reported in Chapter 1 include only Class I rail (see glossary for definition), while this table includes Class I rail, Group II rail, and other rail. In 2005, Group II rail accounted for 78 million Train-miles, and other rail for 29 million Train-miles. Moreover, the vehicle-miles table in Chapter 1 includes only Train-miles between terminals and/or stations, thus excluding yard and switching miles. In 2009, Class I yard/switching Train-miles totaled 63 million Train-miles. Note that commuter rail safety data are reported in the rail mode and the transit mode. Commuter rail Train-miles are included in Class I rail and Group II rail in this table.

d A Train-mile is the movement of a train (which can consist of many cars) the distance of 1 mile. A Train-mile differs from a vehicle-mile, which is the movement of 1 car (vehicle) the distance of 1 mile. A 10-car (vehicle) train traveling 1 mile would be measured as 1 Train-mile and 10 vehicle-miles. Caution should be used when comparing Train-miles to vehicle-miles.

Source:

Fatalities, injuries, accidents, and train-miles: 

1970: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Policy and Program Development, Accident/Incident Bulletin (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), tables 14 and 15.

1975-2019: Ibid., U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Ten Year Accident/Incident Overview, tables 1.12, available at http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/ as of Apr. 9, 2020.

Property damage: 

1970: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database (Washington, DC: Annual Issues), form 406.

1975-2019: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Summary of Train Accidents With Reportable Damage, Casualties, and Major Causes, table 3.16, available at http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/ as of Apr. 9, 2020.

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