More trains passing danger signals

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The number of serious incidents in which trains passed danger signals increased last year.

There were 306 category A cases (the most serious category) of signals passed at danger on the railways in 2010 compared with 261 in 2009, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) said.

It also announced that nine passengers died in incidents at stations last year - the highest number since 2004.

Also, three members of the rail workforce were killed last year compared with just one in 2009.

But the RSSB was able to report that 2010 was the third year running in which no passengers or rail workers were killed in train accidents.

At six, the total number of fatalities involving members of the public in 2010, and not involving trespass or suicide, was the lowest for more than 10 years. Four of the fatalities occurred at level crossings, compared with 13 in 2009.

Deaths arising from trespass and suicide totalled 258 in 2010, compared with 266 in 2009.

The number of potentially higher-risk train accidents last year was 26, the lowest number recorded and comparing with 42 in 2009.

RSSB policy, research and risk director Anson Jack said: "The rail industry has seen a growth in passenger usage of around 25% over the past five years. Against this backdrop key indicators related to train accident risk have shown improving trends.

"At the same time, nine passengers lost their lives in accidents at stations and three members of staff were fatally injured while working on railway infrastructure.

"The industry is working to provide higher levels of service and increased capacity while reducing its costs and the call on the taxpayer for subsidy. Against that background the industry continues to seek practicable ways to reduce risk further."