Playing it safe

Rail is one of the safest methods of transport there is, for both freight and passengers. Safety precautions are again being examined and optimised in the course of the planned upgrade.

 

Electrification and the upgrade of the railway line between Lübeck and Puttgarden mean that the number of freight trains (and thus the amount of dangerous goods carried on this route) will increase. This requires modification of Deutsche Bahn's emergency management system, which will now offer special training for emergency services along this line. Training courses have to be developed, particularly for the local fire brigades along the route, due to electrification.

In general, rail is one of the safest methods of transport, due to its systemic advantages:

  • Trains run on rails.
  • Technical safety devices ensure that trains are spaced apart. In contrast, cars can only be controlled by range of sight.
  • Man and technology form one system, in which, for example, human error can largely be corrected by using technology.

Carriage by rail is deemed particularly safe due to these advantages and the strict observance of rules and monitoring measures, which are particularly strict for the carriage of dangerous goods. However, it is impossible to preclude all risk, so the railway is prepared for any accidents with an emergency management system.

A fast local response

Railway crane for recovery work

Local fire brigades are responsible for emergency responses. However, railways in Germany are under a statutory obligation to participate and support the fire brigade and emergency services in preparing and responding to the best of their ability. For this purpose, DB has to operate seven control centres across Germany, carry out emergency exercises, train emergency staff and provide its own emergency equipment (such as railway cranes for recovery, etc).

The Deutsche Bahn rail network is also divided into 160 emergency districts, in each of which an emergency manager is available around the clock. This manager acts as an interface between the operations controller and the railway and uses his specialist railway skills to support the operations controller. DB Netz AG provides a "dangerous goods" train throughout Germany as a mobile training facility for specific CPD for emergency staff. There is a special fire train for dangerous goods in every district and self-administered town in Schleswig-Holstein.

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