Safety Improvements During First Half of 2006 in Minnesota See Union Pacific Derailments Down 60 Percent
Nationwide Train Accident, Employee Casualty Rates Lowest-Ever
Washington, November 2, 2006 All railroads operating in Minnesota have had accidents fall by 25 percent during the first six months of 2006 as compared to the same period last year. Nationwide, U.S. railroads are on track to record their safest year in history in terms of train accidents and employee safety, according to preliminary data released by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
"Safety has always been the highest priority at Union Pacific and I’m proud to say our employees who work in Minnesota have reduced the number of accidents so far this year by 60 percent," said Randy Blackburn, Union Pacific Railroad’s northern region vice president.
Across the U.S., train accidents were down 16.1 percent from the first six months of 2005, according to the FRA. Specifically, the number of derailments decreased by 13.6 percent and train-to-train collisions fell 34.1 percent. Minnesota was one of 37 states that saw a reduction in incidents.
"Nothing is more important to the nation's railroads and their more than 200,000 employees than safety," said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads (AAR). "This improvement is the direct result of our efforts to maximize safety."
Railroads are working closely with both the FRA and rail labor to improve safety and are developing new technology that promises further safety advances, he added.
Through the first six months of 2006, the railroad train accident rate was 4.2 percent lower than in 1997, currently the safest year ever in terms of train accidents. This year's rate is also 18.4 percent below the train accident rate during the first six months of 2005. The employee casualty rate was down 9.9 percent from 2005, which set a record low rate for a full year. Employee fatalities were down 54.5 percent.
"Our industry has faced numerous challenges this year to our safety record," Hamberger continued, "including record volumes of freight and hiring thousands of new employees to operate trains, as well as to maintain tracks, signals and equipment. Our ability to improve safety under these conditions stands as a tribute to the dedication of our employees and the thoroughness of our training programs for new employees."
Also showing a reduction this year was the total number of rail-related fatalities across the country, which was down 5.9 percent from a year ago. The grade crossing incident rate was down 2.65 percent from a year ago while the number of fatalities increased by 5.8 percent. The trespasser incident rate was down 3.45 percent, while the number of fatalities was virtually the same as a year ago.
"We will continue to remind Minnesota motorists and pedestrians to obey the warning devices at grade crossings and not to be on railroad property for any reason," Blackburn said.
Jobs at Union Pacific
Currently, Union Pacific has job openings at many locations throughout its 23-state operating system. Opportunities are available in train service, skilled disciplines (e.g., diesel mechanics and electricians) and management. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit www.unionpacific.jobs.
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers
competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.
For more information, contact Mark Davis, 402-544-5459.
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