The throwing of objects at trams is not a new phenomenon but on Monday 8th May one of the most serious incidents in recent times occurred with a rock thrown through the cab window of a tram at Derker causing injuries to the driver. M5000 3028 was operating a service on the Oldham and Rochdale line at approximately 2140 when the rock was thrown at the tram in what has rightly been condemned and described as a “senseless act”.
The driver sustained injuries to his face and chest but managed to drive his tram to Shaw & Crompton where he was met by the emergency services and taken to hospital for treatment.
The newly elected Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, was quick to condemn the action: “After the attack on the tram last night, which injured a driver, I want to start by wishing him well in his recovery. Attacks on Metrolink will not be tolerated. Recently we have seen far too many reports of missiles being thrown at trams and often through windows, injuring and frightening those on board. The consequences of last night’s incident were disgraceful but could have been even worse. I’ll be working closely with Metrolink, TfGM, Greater Manchester Police and the Travelsafe team to ensure we are doing all that we can to end these attacks. Nobody in Greater Manchester should be made to feel unsafe while travelling or at work.”
Managing Director of RATP Dev Ltd, Chris Coleman, added: “This is a targeted attack on the tram and a disgraceful act by an individual or group with a clear intent to harm. We will not tolerate any actions that put staff and customers in danger and we will do everything in our power to support police to find the culprit. We have a clear strategy in place to deal with issues of anti-social behaviour on the network. These types of incidents are not isolated to Metrolink and we are working very closely with local community leaders in the areas we operate to address and reduce these issues.”
Danny Vaughan, TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, commented: “I am astonished that someone has thought it acceptable to throw a rock from height towards an oncoming tram. This one reckless action has injured the driver and left him, understandably, very shaken. Make no mistake the consequences could have been much worse, not only for the driver but the passengers on board. We condemn such behaviour in the strongest possible terms and are working closely with the police, operator and other partners to tackle problems of anti-social behaviour along the line. It is important to note that anti-social behaviour is not a problem that is specific to Metrolink, or public transport more generally, but is a far-reaching issue that affects all areas of the communities we serve. Metrolink, our staff and passengers are as much a victim as anyone. I’d encourage the local community to work with us and the police to help prevent further incidents by passing any information about the incident or person responsible to the police.”