Safety on the railway is at an all-time high, figures in the Office of Rail Regulation's (ORR) Railway Safety Annual Report show.
The figures, for calendar year 2005, show further significant improvements in key safety indicators. The number of broken rails is at a record low level. The figures fell for the seventh year in succession to 318 - down from 333 in 2004. Signals passed at danger (SPADs) also reached a record low, decreasing to 339 from 357 in 2004. Recent Rail Safety and Standards Board data show that rail is now the safest form of transport. This is reflected in the ORR statistics for 2005. However, 16 people were killed in level crossing incidents. Workforce fatalities fell to six from ten in 2004. Network Rail's deputy chef executive Iain Coucher said: 'The progress we are making on safety is good news for passengers and is a tribute to the hard efforts of our people and those who work for the train and freight operators. 'Though there is much to commend, the number of staff fatalities is still too high - the only acceptable level for this is zero. 'Our 'Safety 365' initiative is addressing this and we have had positive feedback from our people in response to our training DVD 'Hit or Miss'. 'This will be seen by every team of track workers in the country to remind them of the safety consequences of their actions,' he said.