Compared to automobiles railway travel is a very safe form of transport. Nonetheless there have been railway disasters in Victoria involving injury and fatality. While the introduction of safe-working systems in the 1930s and improving communication technologies have removed many of the risks, many railway accidents are well remembered.
Multiple factors combine to allow a railway accident to occur. Failure of equipment, miscommunication and inclement weather have all resulted in mishaps. On occasions the failure of staff to adequately perform their responsibilities - either due to negligence or working conditions which impeded them in fulfilling their duties - has also resulted in disaster.
Train disasters have held a fascination for the public beyond the fact that disruption to the rail service can a wide material impact. As a potent symbol of the industrial revolution and the technological progress, the vulnerability of trains displayed in accidents was a source of fear and fascination.