Safety of rail freight transport

Freight transport by rail is safe, but safety can always be improved. The government has designated certain rail routes for the transport of dangerous goods, for example. When transported these substances can be of risk to health, safety or the environment.

Making rail freight transport safer

The Dutch rail system is already very safe. Nevertheless, the Dutch government is working to make rail freight transport even safer by, among other things:

  • preventing trains from passing through red lights whenever possible, by introducing better safety systems like the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). Signals are also being adapted where they are not clear enough for drivers;
  • improving safety at crossings, with more supervision where it is known that people regularly cross when the barriers are down, for example;
  • measures to reduce suicide on the railways, by installing fencing along rail lines, for example.

Transport of dangerous goods by rail

Dangerous goods must also be transported safely by rail, and the Dutch government is taking measures to make sure this is the case. The packaging of dangerous goods must comply with certain requirements, for example. And the government has developed a so called ‘Basic Network’ in collaboration with local and provincial authorities and the private sector.

Basic Network for transport of dangerous goods

The Basic Network consists of the main road, water and rail transport routes for dangerous goods. The Network ensures that these goods are transported as safely as possible, and that people living along the routes do not face major risks.

Smarter assembly of freight trains

By assembling freight trains in a smarter way - for example, not placing wagons containing flammable substances next to wagons with flammable gas - the transport of dangerous goods by rail becomes safer.