Downwards trend for train accident deaths continues
There were 17 deaths due to rail accidents last year, a slight drop on 2018. The number of fatalities and accidents has been falling since the 1970s, despite more trains running.
Overall there were 60 rail accidents last year, down by 11 on 2018, the Federal Statistical Office said on Thursday.
The 17 people who were killed in 2019 were mostly crossing tracks or were employees of the Swiss Federal Railways who were on the tracks. No passengers were affected. Suicides were not included in the statistics.
The number of deaths was 15 in 2018 and over the past ten years this figure has oscillated between 13-27, the stats office said.
There has been a steep fall in the number of accidents, fatalities and serious injuries on the railways in the past 50 years. In 1970 there were almost 620 accidents, with more than 100 deaths and 400 serious injuries; by 2000 this stood at 220 accidents, 29 deaths and 61 serious injuries.
The Swiss are heavy railway users. In December 2019 – pre-coronavirus – the average Swiss took the train 71 times a year travelling 2,398 kilometres by rail, according to the European Statistical Office, Eurostat. Measured by distance travelled per capita, Switzerland was found to be a European leader.
However, public transport use is currently down in Switzerland due to the coronavirus, although most trains are now running.