The Safest Place To Sit On A Train, According To Science

Tuesday’s deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight people and injured more than 200, has turned the country’s attention to railroad safety. But for those commuters questioning whether or not to board the next train, statistics may offer some reassurance.

According to the scientific journal Bandolier, the lifetime odds of dying on a passenger train in the U.S. are about one in 1,871,241. That figure was calculated based on population, as opposed to miles or kilometers traveled, or number of trips taken. But even if you take into consideration the miles traveled, the numbers are still low, as the overall fatality rate for long-haul passenger train service is around 0.43 fatalities per billion passenger miles.

“Train accidents are rare,” Dr. Allan Zarembski, research professor and director of the railroad engineering and safety program at the University of Delaware, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Accident rate in 2014 was 2.2 accidents per million train miles (a train mile-is one train going one mile), this number has been declining steadily… In 2005, it was 4.14 accidents per million train miles.”

Subways, buses and planes are even safer than trains, The Washington Post reported this week. Cars, on the other hand, have a fatality rate 17 times as high as the rate for train travel.

But if you are still concerned about safety — or if you’re just curious about which part of the train is the safest place to sit in the event of a derailment or crash — science has an answer for that too.

On a passenger train, your safest bet just may be to sit in the middle cars. After all, most collisions happen at the front or rear of a train, and the types of —> Read More