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How deadly are commuter trains in America?

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Posted at 4:45 PM, Dec 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-18 21:00:53-05

After Monday's accident that killed "at least" three people on board of an Amtrak commuter train near Olympia, Washington, you may be wondering just how safe are commuter trains? 

It turns out deadly accidents on board commuter trains are becomingly increasingly rare. 

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, Monday's accident is the deadliest incident since eight people were killed on board a train during an Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania in 2015. 

From January through September, five passengers had died in various incidents on board trains in 2017. In all of 2016, just one passenger died on board a train. Those figures do not include those killed on board non-commuter trains, or crew members.

The vast majority of those killed by trains are either trespassers or those in vehicles that are in the way of a train. 

From 2000-16, a total of 108 passengers died on board of trains, according to Federal Railroad Administration figures. On average, seven passengers are killed a year on board of trains. That's compared to an average of 31.3 million passengers a year who ride Amtrak alone.