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Stagecoach takes action following fatal Sheffield collision probe

The RAIB has issued a report following an investigation into a fatal collision with a pedestrian in December 2016.

The pedestrian was using the crossing at the northern end of Woodbourn Road tram stop when they were struck by the tram as it travelled through the non-stop station towards Meadowhall.

RAIB’s report has identified several factors which may have contributed to the accident. The driver of the tram did not see the pedestrian until shortly before the collision as their attention had been focused on the tram’s mirrors, and consequently they had insufficient time to take preventative action.

The pedestrian reportedly did not seem to have seen the tram, and no audible warning signal had been given to indicate that the tram was travelling through the station non-stop. It revealed that when the system of request stops was first introduced in 1999, Stagecoach Supertram did not conduct a risk assessment of trams running non-stop through these stations.

During its investigation, the safety body also found inconsistencies in the training and assessments of new drivers when passing non-stop through stations and the operational standards required when making such movements. Additional factors which were identified include the wearing of sunglasses by the tram operator and a possible decrease in concentration by that point in the journey.

Following the tragedy, Stagecoach Supertram said that it has taken action to mandate audible warnings for all non-stop movements through tram stops, and to reduce driver distraction through looking in mirrors.

It has also updated its risk assessment to include trams passing non-stop through stations and implemented measures to prevent collisions with pedestrians. RAIB said that these actions have addressed factors that would have otherwise resulted in recommendations.

The RAIB did, however, make two recommendations as a result of the investigation. It told Stagecoach Supertram to continue to review its training material against its operational standards to ensure consistency. Secondly, the safety body also advised on the establishment of an industry working group to monitor the development and application of new pedestrian detection technology, to alert drivers of potential collisions with pedestrians.

The probe also brought about three key learnings points: it highlighted, for example, the importance of tram operators actively assessing the additional risk to pedestrians on crossings, associated with the non-stop movement of trams through stops. Mirrors should only be used for the essential tasks related to the safe movement of the tram through the station, and drivers should understand the impact that sunglasses can have on visibility – particularly during the winter months when the sun is low. 

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Andrew Gwilt   27/09/2017 at 20:50

In this case. How fast was the tram traveling at. 50mph? 60mph? It’s similar to what happened when a tram lost control in South London when it approached the bend at nearly 50mph which 7-8 people were killed and dozens injured last year.

Daniel Pyke   28/09/2017 at 08:37

Andrew, 13mph before the incident I believe - Nothing at all like the Croydon accident. It is in the report have a read - To summarise and grossly oversimplify the report. A tram travelled through a tram stop without stopping (reasonably normal practice if no one is waiting to get on or has signalled to get off). The driver didn't see an old man crossing in front of the tram in time and struck him. The pedestrian didn't look before or during using the crossing. (he probably expected the tram to stop). A number of recommendations in the report but it boils down to the driver no looking (or not seeing) the pedestrian in time, and the pedestrian not looking for the tram before crossing into its path.

Andrew Gwilt   28/09/2017 at 22:59

Ah right. Thanks for clarifying Daniel Pyke.

James Palma   29/09/2017 at 18:28

The best way to resolve such rare incidents is to do like the song "knees up, mother Brown". That way there can be lots of knee jerking. Build bridges instead of level crossings, put bouncy castles and nets around trams, whilst making them float through the air like a cloud. And while all that is going on, make trams stop whenever they see anyone within 25m of the tramway and have the driver get out and hold their hand to cross the tramway. Alternatively, people could stop in a place of safety, look for approaching vehicles, and cross quickly but without rushing, when it is clear to do so. But that is a nonsense suggestion so I take it back. Sorry. Anyone for a knees up?

Jon   01/10/2017 at 07:20

Andrew, I don't know how you conclude the two are similar. I worked on investigating the incident, it really is not similar at all.

Andrew Gwilt   01/10/2017 at 15:43

Yet again I’ve proven wrong. F sake.

Jon   02/10/2017 at 17:40

Talk to me again when you are actually involved with rail safety and helping to prevent future accidents, rather than pointless speculation and swearing.

Andrew Gwilt   07/10/2017 at 00:30

@Jon. Shut up.

Andrew Gwilt   08/10/2017 at 11:27

I’ve read the terms & conditions. And yes you don’t allow foul language on here as it might “offend some people”.

Jim   09/10/2017 at 07:12

Then stop posting it!! This is a site about industry news, not the Gwilt Show!

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