Things that go bump in Cleveleys

A road traffic collision involving a tram and a motor car at Cleveleys Square caused considerable disruption to tram services in Blackpool on Thursday 2nd July. Whilst the emergency services attended to the incident the tram service was terminated at Little Bispham whilst road traffic was also diverted for a time.

It is understood that a Vauxhall was crossing the tram lines when it was struck by a Flexity2 tram in the vicinity of Rossall Road just after 1000 in the morning. Early reports indicate that nobody was badly hurt, although paramedics were in attendance and the Police were also called out to investigate. In order to allow the relevant services plenty of space to assess the situation the nearby road was closed off with all traffic forced onto a different route, and pictures suggest that the tram involved may have remained blocking the road crossing for a while before it was driven back to the depot.

Eyewitness reports suggest that, despite the tram driver’s best attempts to avoid a collision – sounding the horn and braking sharply – it still struck the car which is believed to have been driven by an elderly lady. Although there is no indication that the tram was in any way at fault, a small number of critics on the Blackpool Gazette website have been quick to point the finger of blame squarely in the direction of the tramway. This coupled with a recent report on a fall in passenger numbers on the trams last year also published by the Gazette, has painted a very negative picture of the system when in fact its safety record remains excellent, whilst passenger numbers are showing a significant increase so far in 2015. Hopefully the majority of people will not believe any such claims that the tramway dangerous and unpopular, and accept that occasionally such incidents do occur regardless of how safe it is overall, particularly in places where trams and other road traffic come into direct contact.

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18 Responses to Things that go bump in Cleveleys

  1. Ken Walker says:

    We can of course presume that all these ‘critics’ were actually present and witnessed the incident? As far as I am aware elderly drivers have also been known to have collisions with other road vehicles as well (and not so elderly ones as well). Sounds like another anti-rail local rag that only quotes the ‘facts’ that suit the agenda, hence the failure to mention this year’s much umproved figures, or the obvious reasons for last year’s drop, ie withdrawal of free travel, the loss of which will have saved rather than cost money.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Think various factors responsible for the deranged commentary in that rag in particular. Ability to post anonymously certainly allows taxi drivers (a sector that directly impacted on as the tramway extends and grows in popularity), ex sacked staff with gripes and so on. The concessionary decision clearly caused anger as well. So various reasons why some bizarre un hinged comments which should be taken with a pinch of salt. .

  2. Christopher Callan says:

    Tramways far and wide continue to victim of local rags. One thing is for sure can confidently say the respective tramways will live on thankfully cant say the same for the tired local print media. Manchester, Nottingham, Edinburgh all fall victim to the negative poorly researched misleading local media.

    Regarding Blackpool Its interesting to note the Blackpool Gazzettes past involvement with the defunct disgraced Classic Bus North West (Higgs) operation advertising on one of their fleet. Time and time again in past carried a pro LTT (under Higgs) narrative. Done very little in the way of supporting the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tour operation. Jumps on potential negative stories with seemingly glee regarding the LRT operation. Sooner the rag goes bust the better. Yet unsurprisingly gives very little coverage of his cases with the traffic commissioner. Blackpool deserves a local paper or media outlet that champions Blackpool. not putting it down and sniping from the wings.

  3. Christopher Callan says:

    Regarding the crash in these incidents firstly should say first priority has to be the well being of anyone affected. In this case it seems thankfully injuries were thankfully just minor.

    Speaking generally without commenting on this specific case should be source of concern though that whilst still bumps rare the number of people taking a chance does seem to have in risen. Whether signal cameras at the lights as deterrent or simply harsher penalties are needed not sure. But suspect something will have to be done going forward across various tramways. Cars seem to negatively interacting with them as result of their substandard driving far to often.

    • Ken Walker says:

      Couldn’t agree more. With all the driver monitoring equipment built into the trams it is extremely unlikely that a tram driver would be negligent and be the cause of a collision. So it has to be down to equipment failure (unlikely) orva careless, unmonitored vehicle driver or pedestrian (probably).
      I wonder do local papers in towns and cities abroad have this bias against tramways, or is it something else that is a fascinatingly British phenomenon created by journalists and editors who have probably never been near a tramway?

  4. john says:

    What is the number of the flexity involved

  5. PRG Leeds says:

    And for how many years now have there been Tramlines in Cleveleys?.
    Sorry but whether Young, Old, Local Resident or Visitor, surely a motorist should know the prescence of Tramlines by road signs alone?.
    Same applies to the other Tramway/Light rail installations, in particular Metrolink where the majority of “Bumps” seems to be caused by Taxi’s.
    I doubt if Taxi Drivers are elderly.
    More a case I think that there is a thorough disregard for the powers of observation!

  6. John Stewart says:

    I didn’t have problem with the article and, of the 10 comments online, all were supportive of the tramway except for one that was so outrageously stupid as to invite nothing but derision. One poster was a witness and is full of praise for the tram driver. We have to remember that the main “industry” of Cleveleys is retirement!

    • Ken Walker says:

      So there was one comment that was actually valid then (the witness)! Good to see that most were supportive. Unfortunately human nature being what it is there will always be road traffic collisions, and the law of averages dictates that some will involve trams / LRVs. Just a pity that the media largely home in on the ones that do involve trams or trains, no matter how trivial, yet ignore all but the worst of the ones that don’t involve them. Perhaps it’s because the former are rare and the latter are everyday occurences.

  7. Nigel Pennick says:

    It seems that journalists’ approach to about almost everything is based upon adversarial principles driven by the unfounded belief that everything can and must be perfect and when something goes wrong it is someone’s fault and they must be punished. Except when things go wrong with journalism and they are unaccountable and get off scot-free.

  8. Fylde man says:

    The number of the Flexity Tram involved in the accident at Cleveleys was 004

  9. Deckerman says:

    Whilst in no way claiming to have full knowledge of the causes of this incident, I am led to believe from someone I know who was actually on the tram in question, that the lady motorist sadly may have became unwell just prior to the collision and had possibly suffered a mild stroke whilst at the wheel.
    This might then explain the need for the attendance of a paramedic for such a relatively minor, low impact and slow speed incident. So things may not be quite as “black and white” regarding blame, as may at first be thought. In fact my thoughts are with her and her family, but equally with the tram driver who also may still be quite shaken as well.

    And regarding the apparently one sided articles usually carried in the Gazette regarding the antics of LTT/ Classic Bus/ Oakwood Travel/ Catch 22/ Nuttall’s Coaches/ Redline? (or whatever it’s called this week), don’t forget that the Gazette has had an advertising agreement on their vehicles with Classic Bus, (apparently otherwise known as any North West based bus company that’s happy to sell it’s “o” licences to them)…., as well as various reader/ passenger offers in conjunction with them, so it is perhaps not totally surprising that most, if not all articles run by the Gazette, might just be a tad biased. Not saying they actually were biased of course, but (heaven forbid) that if they were, it just might not be that surprising perhaps?
    And I was also advised many years ago that the board of the Gazette had many taxi company owners on it’s board of directors, so again, if that is still the case, it may explain any potential bias against rival methods of local transport.
    The same apparently, (again admittedly some time ago), regarding elected Councillors was the case within the council, which may go some way to explaining the close proximity of taxi ranks along the prom to tram stops to allow illegal touting to easily occur. Not saying the two were connected but it’s just a thought!!

    • Ken Walker says:

      If that is the case it is just an unfortunate incident with nobody to blame, although no doubt the Gazette will think that BTS should be responsible for the health and wellbeing of all road vehicle drivers when near to the tramway! If the lady was taken ill I sincerely hope that she soon recovers, and that the tram driver is soon able to put the incident behind him/her. I’m sure that when driving a large vehicle like a Flexity which collides with a smaller and vulnerable vehicle like a car it is easy to start feeling guilty even if it was in no way your fault.

      • Deckerman says:

        Ken, sadly I am sure you are right regarding the Gazette and as far as how the driver might feel, I fully agree.

      • Nigel Pennick says:

        Interesting – the accident is bad luck and nobody is to blame but the press jumps to conclusion and starts to grind its axe before any evidence emerges. In the future that press article will be seen by tramway historians who may well believed it to be true.

  10. Fylde man says:

    Flexity Tram 004 is now back in service,with a new panel on the offside minus number,spotted a Little Bispham at 10 o’clock this Saturday morning.