Safe railways for Australia

Scope and methods

Geographic coverage

The statistics apply only to those railways within ONRSR’s area of operation from July 2015 to June 2017 – South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

Reporting period

The current reporting period is from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017. For Western Australia, data is included from 1 January 2016. The statistics will be updated every six months, which will allow further trending and analysis over time.

Railway operations

The statistics cover all railway operations within the aforementioned geographic bounds, with the exception of Victoria. There are 11 railways which continue to be regulated under local Victorian law and are therefore not subject to Rail Safety National Law (RSNL). These comprise the metropolitan tram operator and 10 standalone tourist and heritage railways.

Data and sources

The statistics are principally based on notifiable occurrences – the initial written advice of a rail safety incident that a rail transport operator (RTO) submits to ONRSR in accordance with section 121 of the RSNL.

The statistics are based on the incident definitions of the national occurrence classification guideline, which is date dependent. For data up to and including 7 June 2017, incident definitions are based on those in the Occurrence Classification Guideline (OC-G1). For all other data, incident definitions are based on the Reporting Requirements for Notifiable Occurrences.

Statistics relating to SPADs are limited to the following categories:

  • driver misjudged
  • completely missed while running
  • starting against signal.

Notifiable occurrences involving road rail vehicles (RRVs) exclude the categories listed in the RRV-specific table.

Activity data (for example, train kilometres travelled, or drug and alcohol testing undertaken by industry) is based on monthly returns supplied by RTOs in accordance with section 120(3) of the RSNL. The specific information to be provided is defined in clause 56 of the National Regulations.

Railway crossing numbers are sourced from the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model (ALCAM).


The statistics may differ to other sources that utilise the same data and coding specifications. This will be due in part to the data collection and preparation methods used to generate the tables and charts on this website, which included identification and correction of errors in historical data. In addition, the statistics are subject to review and amendment as more information becomes available through investigation or inquiry, or as ONRSR refines its systems for data capture, validation and reporting. This may result in variation between historical and future reports.

Categories excluded from counts of notifiable occurrences involving RRVs

  • Running Line Collision
    • With Animal
    • With Obstruction
      • Natural Object
      • Other Object
  • Yard Collision
    • With Animal
    • With Obstruction
      • Natural Object
      • Other Object
Railway Crossing Occurrence 
  • Railway Crossing Equipment Failure/Defect
  • Near Miss with Road Vehicle
    • At Crossings with Active Traffic Control Equipment
    • At Crossings with Passive Traffic Control Equipment
    • At Unprotected Railway Crossings
  • Near Miss with Person
    • At Crossings with Active Traffic Control Equipment
    • At Crossings with Passive Traffic Control Equipment
    • At Unprotected Railway Crossings
Signalling And Other Proceed Authority Systems Irregularity 
  • Wayside Signalling System Irregularity
  • In-cab Signalling System Irregularity
  • Token Based System Irregularity
  • Communications Based Train Authority System Irregularity
Slip, Trip, or Fall 
  • Between Platform and Rolling Stock
  • On Rolling Stock
  • On Track
  • On/From Platform/Concourse
  • On/From Escalator/Lift
  • On/From Stairs/Ramps
  • From Structure
  • Caught in Rolling Stock Doors
  • Other Slip, Trip or Fall
Load Irregularity 
  • Door Open
  • Out of Gauge
  • Load Shift
  • Uneven Distribution of Load
  • Loose Load Fastening
  • Other Load Irregularity
Track and Civil Infrastructure Irregularity 
  • Broken Rail and Rail Defects
    • Detected Outside of Maintenance Inspections
    • Maintenance Inspection Detected
  • Misaligned Track
  • Spread Track
  • Points Irregularity
  • Track Obstruction
    • Natural Object
    • Railway-Related Object
    • Other Object
  • Civil Infrastructure Irregularity
  • Bridge Strike
  • Other Track Infrastructure Irregularity
Electrical Infrastructure Irregularity 
  • Overhead Traction Supply
  • Other Electrical Infrastructure Irregularity
  • On Train
    • Passenger or Load Related
  • Lineside Fires
    • Safety Related Infrastructure
    • Other Lineside Fires
  • Station/Terminal Fires
Suspected Suicide or Attempted Suicide 
  • Suspected Suicide
    • Struck by Train
    • Other Suspected Suicide
  • Attempted Suicide
    • Struck by Train
    • Other Attempted Suicide
Railway Network Security 
  • Railway Trespass
    • Near Miss With Trespasser
    • Other Railway Trespass
  • Alleged Assault
    • On Train
    • On Platform
    • Other Alleged Assault
  • Terrorism/Sabotage
    • Terrorist Act
    • Threat of Terrorist Act
  • Vandalism
    • Object Projected at Rolling Stock
      • Struck Train
      • Other
    • Graffiti
    • Other Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Other Railway Network Security