Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cumbria Rail Crash

There is no doubt that the rail crash in Cumbria was horrific, not least for the passengers and their relatives waiting for news of their loved ones. Sadly on person, Margaret Masson of Glasgow, aged 84 died whilst 8 others remain critically injured in hospital.

We do need to keep some perspective though. The last train accident causing fatalities was in 2004, since then at least 6,000 people have died on the roads. The trains are the safest way to travel on land in this country.

We obviously need to get to the bottom of the causes of the accident and if appropriate take action to prevent a re-occurrence. However the railway is very safe compared to the alternatives.

The BBC has this.


Anonymous said...

As I say in my article here, not only is rail travel safer, we should consider the relatively low number of casualties (given the horrific-looking crash scene) a success of the new Pendolino trains. But of course, the media would rather find people to blame, not to praise.

Benedict White said...

Thanks for the link to the article Jonathan.

Yes rail is still far safer and there is much more "other party" negligence on the roads than rail.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that the driver is made a knight of the realm in recognition for his sterling efforts.

With respect to Road/Rails differences, I think there is an underlying, and mistaken, belief that one is in control of one's own destiny in a car, due to having control of your own vehicle.

On a train you are more explicitly placing your safety into the hands of others.

However, the figures do suggest that if you doubled rail use, reducing car use by ~10%, you would save the lives of about 300 people [10% of 3000] who would otherwise be killed every year on the roads.

Whilst that would be "expensive", it is noteworthy that the weight of government policy is in the opposite direction: The real-terms cost of driving has decreased, while travelling by rail has become more expensive.

I have moaned before about the Pendolino trains, but mainly due to them being overcrowded. Due credit for their design and commissioning should be given.

Benedict White said...

Thanks for the comment Timothy. The thing I have against the Pendalino trains is that they are heavy and therefore less efficient. They also do more damage to the rails they pass over.

That said they did save lives here.

Otherwise I agree with your other comments.