Deaths on the railways increased in 2012
Fresh figures show that 52 accidents occurred on the Belgian railways last year.
In all 13 people were killed and five people were badly injured. This compares with 48 accidents the previous year and 8 fatalities.
The figures come from rail track operator Infrabel that says that despite efforts to improve the rail service's safety record the number of accidents has risen by 8.5%.
21 accidents occurred on level crossings on goods lines and lines in the ports last year. 31 accidents involved passenger services. 51 of these accidents happened at level crossings with so called active signalisation (barriers and lights).
Road vehicles were involved in 45 accidents. These are the accidents that claimed 6 fatalities and in which 5 people were badly injured.
7 people died in a further 7 accidents involving vulnerable road users.
Infrabel says that every victim claimed at a level crossing is one too many: "Infrabel is sticking to its four-pronged safety strategy: the options include axing level crossings, replacing and renewing them and boosting awareness of safety issues among road users."
In 2012 the rail track operator invested 23 million euros in axing, replacing and renewing level crossings.
"Together with the local authorities Infrabel goes in search of alternative solutions for mobility issues including the construction of bridges and tunnels. The company is also continually modernising its level crossing infrastructure by modifying and renovating level crossings."
Belgium's rail infrastructure has 1,857 level crossings spread over public and private land. 94% of the level crossings on public roads are equipped with active signalling like barriers and traffic lights.
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]