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About Rail traffic

  • Rail traffic

    Railway safety is always something that society is very concerned with: society is sensitive to any actual or perceived lack of safety on public transport, especially when it means that passengers may be at risk. This is also evidenced by the interest shown in this subject by politicians and administrators. In the densely populated and very busy country that is the Netherlands there are many types of public transport, ranging from international high-speed railway lines to municipal tram lines. There needs to be a continual focus on safety, and not just because there are a very large number of diverse stakeholders including network operators and transport companies who may be national or very local in nature.

    The whole subject of safety in the railway sector involves such issues as passenger safety, employee safety, level crossing safety, infrastructural safety, equipment and materials safety, safety of security systems and external safety. This last point refers to the risk to those living close to a railway line that is the scene of an accident involving hazardous substances or a serious derailment. Investigations into the causes of accidents are mainly carried out by the network operators and by the Transport, Public Works and Water Management Inspectorate. For its part, the Dutch Safety Board focuses its efforts more on the issue of the safety management systems at the parties involved, and is more concerned with the question of why something was able to go wrong and less about the way in which it happened. A key question the Board asks in this connection is: have the organisations in question learnt from previous incidents?

    Railway safety is a topic that is high on the agenda at a European level too, with there being increasing numbers of international guidelines and agreements in this field, with more on the way. The Dutch Safety Board monitors developments at home and abroad, and one of the aims of its investigations is to work towards further improving safety standards in this sector.