The report is based on the UIC Safety Database, which has collated data from 21 European member railways since 2001. These railways carried a total of 7.5 billion passengers and 1 billion tonnes of freight in 2012, and despite a significant increase in traffic in recent years these members have achieved a 21% reduction in fatalities since 2006.

The report shows that 79% of accidents had external causes and 93% of all accidents were caused by trespassers and level crossing users. The number of trespasser fatalities declined significantly from 719 in 2011 to 595 in 2012.

The number of deaths at level crossings increased 15% from 280 in 2011 to 329 in 2012, although this still represents an 8% decline compared with 2006. Level crossings accounted for 27% of all significant accidents in the 21 member countries in 2012.

Staff fatalities rose from 28 in 2011 to 44 in 2012, 28 of whom were hit by a train.

The number of passenger fatalities remained unchanged at 32, although as the report's author, chairman of the UIC safety platform Mr Peter Kleinschuster notes, positive trends can be inversed with a single major accident, such as the derailment at Santiago de Compostella in Spain last July.

According to European Union figures, there were around 28,000 road deaths in the 27 Member States during 2012.

The UIC Safety Database Report can be viewed online at