European Railway Agency - ERA

Making the railway system work better for society

Rail Accident Investigation

Lessons to be learnt from accidents investigation are crucial for the improvement of safety performance of railways. For that reason, Member States are required to establish independent National Investigation Bodies (NIBs).

NIBs must investigate serious accidents and - at their own discretion - other accidents and incidents.

The rail accident investigations aim at identifying the causes of the accident but also the root causes behind the direct causes, e.g. deficiencies within the companies’ safety management or in the regulatory framework.

ERA collects and publishes in the ERAIL database information, safety recommendations and investigation reports provided by the NIBs.

Traditionally, the approach and methods to accident investigation vary between NIBs. With the increase of cross-border traffic, a common approach becomes more and more important. ERA supports the NIBs in developing guidance on common investigation methods, by providing a platform for sharing good practice and by offering tailor-made services on request, such as trainings for rail accident investigators or assessments of NIB investigation practices.