6 June
RAIL SEATBELTS WOULD WASTE MILLIONS

"Says Thames Valley Branch of Railfuture "

Location: Railfuture Thames Valley Branch

A recent fatality at a level crossing has led to a renewed call for seatbelts to be fitted to trains, but local rail campaigners oppose the idea.  The Thames Valley Branch of Railfuture says Wokingham MP John Redwood’s proposal would waste many millions of pounds that could be better spent.

On Tuesday 22 May 2012 an express train hit a motor scooter at Ufton Nervet level crossing in Berkshire, killing the rider and slightly injuring the train driver.  No passengers were hurt. However, the next morning Mr Redwood said: "When we had the proper report into the last train tragedy[1] it was quite clear to me, many of the fatalities and injuries on the train occurred because people were thrown around inside the train by the very rapid braking and deceleration and I therefore still think we need seat belts.”[2]

Railfuture Thames Valley Branch spokesman Hugh Jaeger responded “Railways are one of the UK’s safest modes of travel. Train accidents result in an average of one passenger death[3]and five serious injuries[4]per year: less than 3% of all UK rail passenger deaths and serious injuries.[5]Fitting and maintaining tens of thousands of seatbelts would cost many millions of pounds, but without significantly reducing casualties because they are extremely low already.

“What good would seatbelts be on the many overcrowded trains on which hundreds of passengers have to stand?  Passengers would be far safer if there were enough extra coaches to give everyone a place to sit.”

An average of four deaths[6] and 48 serious injuries[7] per year happen between trains and the platform edge. Slips, trips and falls by passengers cause an average of two deaths[8] and 153 serious injuries[9] per year.  Each year an average of seven pedestrians are killed while crossing a railway.[10] Hugh Jaeger continued “These are all very low figures, but each is much higher than those for passenger casualties on trains. Mr Redwood seems to want to spend the most money where it is least needed. The public would pay this high cost via either train fares or taxes.

“Deaths and serious injuries on UK railways are very rare, always thoroughly and professionally investigated and often lead to recommendations that make railways even safer.  The British Transport Police, Rail Accident Investigation Branch and Rail Safety Standards Board don’t call for seatbelts on trains. No other country in the World fits seatbelts to trains. Seatbelts would be very bad value for money,” Richard said.

“Mr Redwood seems not to have costed his proposal to show how many deaths or serious injuries it could prevent.  How many millions of pounds would it divert from reducing other, more significant rail hazards, or from other priorities such as longer and more frequent trains or station upgrades such as the current £1.5 million upgrade of Wokingham station in Mr Redwood’s own constituency?”

Hugh Jaeger concluded “We thank John Redwood for caring about the safety of rail passengers. However, we trust the opinion of rail professionals who do not support his seatbelt proposal because it would never be cost-effective. We hope Mr Redwood will concentrate on addressing those hazards that cause more rail deaths and injuries, and also on expanding and extending Britain’s railways which would help to reduce the far higher death toll on Britain’s roads.”

Contact


 

Hugh Jaeger         Branch Media Officer             Railfuture Thames Valley Branch

( (01865) 554814               È (07762) 093310               : hugh_jaeger@hotmail.com

Sources

Rail Safety Standards Board, Annual Safety Performance Report 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures


[1] At Ufton Nervet in November 2004 when five passengers, the train driver and a car driver were killed and 71 passengers were injured.

[3] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 14

[4] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 15

[5] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 15

[6] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 14

[7] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 15

[8] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 14

[9] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 15

[10] RSSB, ASPR 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures, page 23


Contact
Hugh Jaeger Branch Media Officer Railfuture Thames Valley Branch
( (01865) 554814 È (07762) 093310 : hugh_jaeger@hotmail.com
Sources
Rail Safety Standards Board, Annual Safety Performance Report 2010/11 Key Facts and Figures

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