Press Notice
Tuesday 1st June 1999


The first ever independent review of rail safety needs across Europe carried out by ETSC's rail safety experts from across the European Union is being circulated widely today.

Railways are receiving increasing attention at the European level, because they are a major asset, and they offer the prospect of meeting transport needs with less environmental and collision damage than roads. Rail travel is the safest way to travel in Europe.

Jeanne Breen, ETSC's Executive Director said: "Despite the fact that the railway safety record is good, and has been improving, the European Union cannot develop its policies for rail without actively including safety. In order to do this we need, as a bare minimum, to have an EU rail accident and casualty database covering all the railway network in EU countries and mandatory provision for independent accident investigation, as in EU aviation."

Professor Andrew Evans, Chairman of ETSC's Rail Safety Working Party said: "Key changes are now taking place throughout Europe in the organisation of railways. The separation of infrastructure management from rail operation, and the entry of newcomers to the railway scene potentially increase railway risks. Railway fragmentation requires more formal safety processes than in the past. The most important formal process is the production by railway operators of a published systematic review of their safety responsibilities and how they can be met. ETSC recommends that, as a matter of urgency, the EU: should facilitate the exchange of best practice in the management of safety in multi-organisational railway systems."

For further information contact:
ETSC Brussels office: + 32 (0)2 230 4106