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A third of all injuries on Irish Rail were at the gap between platforms and trains

There’s also been a rise in the number of train derailments in the past three years.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

A THIRD OF all injuries on Irish Rail trains last year happened at the gap between the trains and platforms.

In their first annual safety report, Irish Rail said that “accidents of this type tend to pose the greatest risk of personal injury and are prioritised accordingly”.

Although the overall safety incidents are decreasing, and are good in comparison to other EU countries’ figures, the number of passenger-related injuries are on the rise despite the company saying it had focused on this area.

Customer injuries Source: Irish Rail

In 2016 there were 261 passenger injuries compared to 202 in the previous year.

“Elsewhere similar trends have been linked to changes in passenger behaviour, including the increased use of smartphones in inappropriate situations,” Irish Rail said.

Apart from gaps between platforms and trains, other passenger injuries were “minor in nature” and caused by “slips, trips and falls at stations”.

Irish Rail says it plans to improve safety measures by improving surfacing, escalator and stair initiatives; promoting awareness of risks; and improving incident recording leading to better informed plans.

Derailments

Derailments Source: Irish Rail

Other safety figures released today show that there has been an increase in the number of train derailments in the past three years.

The majority of the incidents highlighted above are train derailments on sidings which Irish Rail says represents “a low safety risk and which account for the increase in numbers since 2013″.

“However, we recognise that there are challenges in specific areas and are proactively working to address these.

Many of our structures, earthworks and level crossings were provided at a time when traffic levels and loads were much lower, and the link between climate change and extreme weather events was not apparent.

image009 Source: Irish Rail

But despite those figures, comparative statistics suggest that Iarnród Éireann is one of the safest railways in Europe (when looking at “fatalities per billion km”).

Figures showed that there had been a decrease in the number of incidents at level crossings, railway bridges struck by vehicles, and “Signals Passed at Danger”, eg where trains pass a signal indicating there was danger faster than it should.

Chief Executive David Franks admits that comparisons with other countries are complicated: “…being a relatively small railway, we are acutely aware that just one serious accident would have a significant impact on the normalised statistics.

Performance over recent years is even more impressive when set in the context of increasing passenger numbers and the significant historical funding constraints to which we have been subject.

You can read Iarnród Éireann’s first annual safety report here.

Read: Train services delayed after bin truck damages crossing barrier

Read: Irish Rail’s owner needs more lawyers to help it deal with personal injury and other claims

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