Rail statistics

Rail safety in Australia

The responsibility for rail safety in Australia is shared by government and industry.

To assist in both maintaining and continuously improving rail safety, each state and territory government has implemented rail safety legislation and established a rail safety regulator. The regulators are responsible for establishing standards in rail safety management and monitoring the industry's compliance with the standards in order to meet community expectations and maintain public confidence.

Industry is responsible for addressing risks to safety by identifying and implementing the most effective and efficient solutions via their safety management systems. Industry is accountable for achieving required safety outcomes.

As part of this process of shared responsibility, industry reports rail safety occurrences to the regulators. The regulators and operators use this data to assist with their safety analyses and programs.

The present count data is designed to assist rail safety professionals and researchers in understanding and mitigating risk. In addition, it can be used for international comparative research, while informing the public about emerging issues in rail safety. The present database contains frequency counts of the following safety-critical event types:

  • Derailment
  • Collision
  • Level Crossing Occurrence
  • Signal Passed at Danger (SPAD)
  • Loading Irregularity
  • Track and Civil Infrastructure Irregularity

As the data is collected and published on a jurisdictional basis, frequency counts for each of the above occurrences should be normalised according to the size of the industry. The normalising data provided is

  • Train kilometres
  • Freight-train kilometres
  • Passenger-train kilometres
  • Total track kilometres

In addition, frequency counts are provided for

  • Deaths
  • Serious Injuries

The definitions for data provided in each of the categories for the period:

  • 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2008 are taken from Occurrence Notification Standard 1 (ON-S1, 2004 Rail Safety Regulators' Panel); and
  • From 1 July 2008 are taken from Occurrence Classification Guideline 1 (OC-G1, July 2008 Rail Safety Regulators' Panel).

These definitions have been developed by rail safety regulators in collaboration with industry. Rail regulators have provided the data to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) for national publication.

ON-S1 occurrence definitions [PDFPDF: 25KB]

OC-G1 occurrence definitions [PDFPDF: 36KB]

Disclaimer: The data in this report are supplied to the ATSB by State and NT rail safety regulators. The ATSB accepts no liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person or corporation resulting from the use of these data.

Related Links

Last update 01 April 2019