Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/848

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ACCIDENT STATISTICS]
831
RAILWAYS

line is about as large in England as in America, the density of population and of traffic in Great Britain apparently counterbalancing the laxity of the laws against trespassing in America. In the thickly settled parts of the United States the number of trespassers killed on the railway tracks, including vagrants who suffer in collisions and derailments while stealing rides, is very large. In New York and four adjacent states, having about as many miles of railway as the United Kingdom, the number in the year ending June 30, 1907, was 1552. In the United Kingdom the number for the corresponding year was 447, or less than one-third.

As was suggested at the outset, railway accident statistics are useful only as showing how to make life and limb safer, though in pursuing this object increased economy should also be secured. Railways have always been held by the legislatures and by the courts strictly accountable for their shortcomings, so far as accountability can be enforced by compelling the payment of damages to victims of accidents; but in spite of this, a want of enterprise and even some apparent neglect of passengers’ and servants’ plain rights, have often been apparent, and the Board of Trade, with its powers of supervision, inspection and investigation, must therefore be classed as one of the most beneficent factors in the promotion of safety on British railways. Its powers have been exercised with the greatest caution, yet with consistent firmness; and the publicity which has been given to the true and detailed causes of scores and scores of railway accidents by the admirable reports of the Board of Trade inspectors has been a powerful lever in improving the railway service. Useful compulsory laws regarding the details of train management are difficult to frame and hard to carry out; but the Board has exercised a persistent persuasiveness and has secured most of its objects. Its investigations justified the law making the block system compulsory, thus removing the worst danger of railway travel. Its constant and impartial expositions of cases of over-work and insufficient training of employés have greatly helped to elevate the character of these employés.

In the United States the governments have done far less. A majority of the states have railway commissions, but the investigation of railway accidents, with comparatively few exceptions, has not been done in such a way as to make the results useful in promoting improved practice. Many of the commissions have done little or nothing of value in this respect. The Federal government, having authority in railway matters only when interstate traffic is affected, gathers statistics and publishes them; but in the airing of causes—the field in which the British Board of Trade has been so useful—nothing so far has been done except to require written reports monthly from the railways. These are useful so far as they go, but they lack the impartiality that would be secured by an inquiry such as is held in England.

Table X.—Casulaties on the Railways of the United Kingdom
1908. 1907.
Passengers: Killed Injured Killed Injured
1. In train accidents 0 283 18 534
2. Other accidents in or around trains, &c 102 2,242 102 2,132
3. Other causes 5 863 5 836
Total of passengers 107 3,388 125 3,502
Servants:
4. In train accidents 6 164 13 236
5. Other accidents in or around trains, &c 376 4,976 441 5,577
6. Other causes 50 19,041 55 15,701
Total of servants 432 24,181 509 21,514
Other Persons:
7. In train accidents 0 7 5 11
8. At level crossings 51 44 50 30
9. Trespassing on line 291 99 278 115
10. Suicides (including unsuccessful attempts) 188 19 169 18
11. On business at stations 32 580 36 618
12. Miscellaneous 27 167 39 167
Total of “other persons” 589 916 577 959
Grand total 1,128 28,485 1,211 25,975

The casualties enumerated in items 1, 4 and 7 of Table X. aggregate 6 killed and 454 injured; the six deaths were due to collisions, while of the cases of injury 372 occurred by collisions, 47 by derailments, and 35 by other accidents to trains. This undoubtedly is the greatest record for train safety ever known in the world. Item 1 shows no passengers killed in train accidents during the year. This was the case once before, in 1901; and the total of fatal accidents to passengers and servants, taken together, has in several years been very low (1896, eight; 1901, eight; 1902, ten; 1904, thirteen), but never before was it down to six.

Items 2 and 5 in Table X. are made up of the classes of accidents shown in Table XI.

Table XI.—Detail Causes of Certain Accidents
Year 1908
Item 2, Passengers: Killed Injured
1. From falling between trains and platforms—
(a) When entering trains 21 53
(b) When alighting from trains 2 110
2. From falling on to the platform, ballast, &c.:—
(a) When entering trains 5 115
(b) When alighting from trains 10 874
3. From falling off platforms and being struck or run over by trains 8 19
4. While crossing the line at stations—
(a) Where there is either a subway or footbridge 9 6
(b) Where there is neither a subway nor footbridge 9 6
5. By the closing of carriage doors 748
6. From falling out of carriages during the running of trains 19 64
7. By other accidents 19 247
Total of passengers 102 2242
Item 5, Servants:
By accidents occurring during shunting operations, viz.—
1. While coupling or uncoupling vehicles 16 675
2. By coming in contact, while riding on vehicles, with other vehicles, &c., standing on adjacent lines 2 19
3. While passing over, under, or standing on buffers 2 13
4. When getting on or off, or falling off engines, wagons, &c 4 278
5. While braking, spragging, or chocking wheels 15 627
6. While attending to ground-points 1 98
7. While moving vehicles by capstans, turntables, props, levers, &c. 16 498
8. By other accidents not included in the preceding 41 587
9. From falling off trains, engines, &c., in motion 5 43
10. When getting on or off engines, vans, &c., during the running of trains 2 226
11. By coming in contact with over-bridges or erections on the sides of the line 5 53
12. While attending to the machinery, &c., of engines in motion 2 674
13. While working on the permanent-way, sidings, &c 52 100
14. While attending to gates at level-crossings 3 3
15. While walking, crossing or standing on the line on duty:—
(a) At stations 84 245
(b) At other parts of the line 40 45
16. From being caught between vehicles 23 95
17. From falling, or being caught between trains and platforms, walls, &c 10 70
18. While walking, &c., along the line to or from work 34 31
19. Miscellaneous 19 595
Total of servants 376 4976

Table XII. analyses the classes of accident comprised in items 3 and 6 of Table X.

Table XII.—Detail Causes of Certain Accidents
1908. 1907.
Passengers: Killed Injured Killed Injured
a. While ascending or descending steps at stations 3 370 5 339
b. By being struck by barrows, by falling over packages, &c., on station platforms 142 122