The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have concluded their investigation into an incident in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester on Tuesday 12th May 2015 and released a report detailing what caused the incident and recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening again in the future. In this incident a pedestrian suffered serious injuries after being hit by a tram shortly after it had left the stop at Market Street.
The pedestrian who was injured had just alighted from the same tram and was walking away from the stop towards Piccadilly (with his back to the tram) when he was hit by the tram around 25 metres away from the stop. The tram – M5000 3034 – was running from Bury to Etihad Campus at the time of the collision.
As a result of the near 12 month investigation the RAIB have said that the main cause of the incident was that the pedestrian was walking along/across the tracks as the tram was approaching. The report also suggests that a contributing factor was that the driver did not apply the tram’s brakes in time to avoid striking the pedestrian with a suggestion that the driver did not see the pedestrian until shortly before hitting him and that he may have lost concentration immediately before the incident.
An internal MRDL investigation had already come to the conclusion that the root cause of the incident was driver error and since the incident the driver involved was charged with not driving with due care and attention. The RAIB report also states that the driver had been involved in four RTCs (of which three were found not to be his fault) and four other operating incidents previous to this pedestrian collision.
As with all RAIB reports a number of recommendations are made:
* MRDL should improve its process of providing for the welfare of staff who have been involved in potentially traumatic incidents (in this case the driver had been asked to drive a van back to depot)
* MRDL in conjunction with TfGM should review the effectiveness of risk mitigation measures associated with tram operations through the pedestrianised area in the vicinity of Piccadilly Gardens. The findings of this review should identify and evaluate possible additional mitigation measures.
* UK Tram should, as part of revising guidance for the design and operation of urban tramways, make explicit provision for the management of risk in areas where trams and pedestrians/cyclists share the same space.