RAIB release urgent safety advice after buggy drag incident

The aftermath of the buggy drag incident on Nottingham Express Transit in December is continuing with the RAIB finding it necessary to release urgent safety advice to all tram operators in the UK. This is advising that tram drivers should conduct checks before setting off that nothing is trapped in tram doors and not just relying on the door interlock system.

As we reported last week the RAIB are investigating this incident which on Friday 15th December saw the plastic weather guard of a pushchair caught in the door of an Alstom Citadis tram and dragged alongside the tram between two stops before it was released. A full investigation will continue but the RAIB have already decided they need to make all UK tram operators aware of the risk and to ensure drivers are aware of the potential issue occurring again.

The exact safety advice given in relation to tram drivers is that they:

* should perform a thorough safety check after obtaining door interlock and before moving the tram to confirm that nothing outside the tram is trapped in the doors

* do not place sole reliance on the door interlock system when deciding whether anything outside the tram is trapped in the doors

* are provided with the means to achieve the above

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6 Responses to RAIB release urgent safety advice after buggy drag incident

  1. SLT says:

    As a regular passenger I am not sure how Manchester Metrolink drivers will go on with this. Any cursory view of the driver shows that without exception, drivers press the door close button then advance the power control lever to maximum and wait for the
    interlock system to release the power and the unit moves way. I know that its wrong
    (and any casual observer would agree) but ALL drivers use the power lever in this way.
    I expect they have NOT been trained that way but its what happens in reality. They are basically defeating the in built safety system in this manner.

    • Steve_Hyde says:

      I don’t fully understand your comment SLT. If the Metrolink drivers have been doing as you suggest then the answer is quite simple. The operator will be required to undertake a full re-briefing of the correct process to all driving staff and will also need to be able to demonstrate that they monitor their staff to ensure that the correct method is observed.

      I somehow think that you have made a rather sweeping statement about this. Can you be sure that at the same time as they move the TBC to power they are not also monitoring the bodyside CCTV to observe whether the doorways are clear?

  2. SLT says:

    Hello Steve,
    Well my monthly visit to Christie’s hospital was today and I made efforts to obtain the front seat immediately behind the driver to see if there have been any changes.
    I am sad to say there were none. 0730 from Radcliffe – unit 3046, the power lever was advanced at the same time he pressed the close door button. This driver was relieved
    at Deansgate (I thought that was unusual) and the new driver adopted exactly the same
    driving style. Changing at Cornbrook onto 3054 (?) the East Didsbury tram at about
    0810, again I saw no changes. The driver uses a screen about 6” x 4′ to monitor the
    doors/platform but I could detect no change in the drivers head to look anywhere beyond the straight ahead position, clearly advancing the power lever and pressing the
    close doors button. I had wished that the ‘Rev’ boys had boarded that tram as the drivers posture was appalling, you could say he was extremely bored and was slouching
    in his seat. Being mindful of this RAIB report I was also watching other drivers on my return journey this afternoon and I also evidenced the tram approaching signals with little attempt to stop just trusting that they will. That was leaving Piccadilly Gardens at
    the triangle complex and on the approach to Shudehill as it crossed over the road into the platform there. In all, no evidence that the RAIB instructions have been received by
    Metrolink.

    • Steve_Hyde says:

      Your observations are obviously worrying. My feeling is that you are almost duty bound to contact Metrolink expressing your concerns.

  3. SLT says:

    Hello Again Steve,
    I have this evening completed a mail to Customer Services at Metrolink and have invited them to contact me for fuller descriptions, I have received an automated response with a case file number, we will see what they have to say. I have used this in the past with other service failures or problems, but have to say I am not a great fan of them, as they usually produce references to their terms & conditions, in partially automated replies.
    Unless of course you have access to a private mail for someone there (but don’t publish that on here) I will keep you posted.

  4. D.Rivers says:

    SLT,
    I am afraid you must be mistaken regarding the driving style of Metrolink Drivers.

    Simply put, an M5000 will not allow you to drive as you describe. If a driver advances the TBC (Traction Brake Controller) to full power before the doors are closed (and the interlock light is lit) then an alarm will sound and the parking brake will not release. The tram will NOT move, even once the doors are closed. The driver would have to move the TBC to the ‘Coast’ position and then reapply power before the parking brake would release.
    I am not sure what you have observed, except to say that it is not as you describe. We are taught from day one of training not to apply power until the interlock light is lit. To cause the alarm to sound would result in an instant fail on a driving test.
    If you could provide an exact description of what you have seen, I might be able to clear any misconceptions you have further.
    Regards
    David
    Metrolink Driver.