Safety is paramount in railway transportation. Learning best practices of risk data reporting and documentation from different railway systems help to better identify safety issues. However, literature shows that comparing statistics between different systems or countries is usually unreliable without comparable data. Globally, railway risk data is not universally collected or published, so the lack of transparency prevents appropriate analyses. In this paper, the authors set out to assess the availability of railway risk data around the world and develop an evaluation framework to support cohesive benchmarks. A total of 148 countries that operate railways were analysed firstly by the public availability of safety statistics, and secondly by their performance against five KPIs in the years between 2015 and 2020. On average, 40 out of 148 countries consistently reported at least three of the five KPIs. It was found that more countries reported data on accident types than on their effects. More importantly, findings highlight the vast disparity of reporting and availability between the Global North and South and demonstrate how applications of the framework showed how the framework can be used to improve overall railway safety. Further work may focus on establishing narrower scope work where countries may benchmark themselves against high-performing counterparts and identify structures and processes that lead to better safety conditions. Moreover, it is anticipated that the framework may also encourage the culture of publishing data to identify whether safety is improving, shifting the stigma of reporting negative events towards a more open approach to benchmarking.