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Manchester accident shows dangers of trams in pedestrian areas – RAIB

More awareness is needed of the risks of pedestrians and trams sharing space, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has said in a report into a collision which seriously injured a pedestrian in Manchester last year.

The type M5000 tram hit the pedestrian at 11.13am on 12 May 2015, 25m to the south east of Market Street tram station after he walked across the tracks.

The report says that the nature of the Market Street and Piccadilly Gardens stop, where tram tracks are laid on the pavement, means that passengers walk freely across the tracks instead of using the tactile pavement by the tracks.

It recommends that Metrolink RATP Dev Ltd (MRDL) review risk mitigation proceedings in the area and that UK Tram provide revised guidance with explicit recommendations for spaces where pedestrians and trams share space.

The driver also failed to apply the brakes in time, possibly because he was distracted. The report says that the driver had been involved in four road traffic collisions and four operating incidents since he joined MRDL in 2003, although he had been ruled not to blame for five of these incidents.

The RAIB also criticises MRDL for allowing the tram driver to drive a van back to the depot after the accident.

It recommends that MRDL improve its process of providing for staff who have been involved in potentially traumatic incidents.

It also says that MRDL did not identify the serious nature of the accident for more than three weeks afterwards and does not conduct periodic reviews of driver performance, but does not make any recommendations in those areas.


John Gilbert   14/04/2016 at 16:54

The seriousness of this accident throws into sharp relief the general lack of awareness (stupidity?) of the British public where trams are concerned; on the continent such accidents, while not impossible, simply cannot be imagined. (Let us see a digest of the frequency of such accidents there.) Certainly creating vast seas of regulations to protect gormless members of the public is not the way to go forward; such people will always get themselves hurt and it is impossible to protect them all from themselves, which is what in reality it is. I'm afraid they will just have to learn the hard way!

Andrew Gwilt   18/04/2016 at 09:47

I do think that Manchester will see more tram related accidents and incidents not just by pedestrians but drivers who think that they can use the tram tracks are the main problem with such incidents. Even though Manchester Metrolink is still expanding to other areas in Greater Manchester including extending the tram network to Salford Dock and Stockport which means trams would connect with major roads and major railway links. In South London. There was more tram related incidents involving pedestrians getting hit by trams in Croydon Town Centre and elsewhere on the Croydon Tramlink network.

Henry Law   23/04/2016 at 07:19

Gothenburg has a an extensive tram system but the track area is well defined, in many cases with barriers to prevent people from entering. There are no shared pedestrian areas. As a result of accidents, a study was conducted a few years ago by the Chalmers Technical University Department of the Man-Machine Interface. Following this, additional features were put in place, including yellow-topped bollards, to discourage people from crossing the tracks without due attention. Additionally, in the town centre, there is a 4 mph speed restriction in the vicinity of the tram stops. Shared tram-pedestrian areas might not be a good idea.

Lesf   23/04/2016 at 21:34

Birmingham has a 50mm change of level to mark the division between the tram zone and the pedestrian area at the tram extension under construction in Corporation Street. Since the pavings are the same colour in the tram zone and outside it, it isn't surprising that a friend fell when he stepped on to the lower level. Why not use a contrasting colour for the paving instead of a silly step that people don't notice? DDA legislation requires it. Manchester trams would benefit from the same contrasting surface.

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