Accident at Leeds horse tram launch event

The entry into public service of newly restored Leeds horse tramcar 107 at the Middleton Railway over the August Bank Holiday weekend ended in tragedy, after a tragic accident resulted in one of the horse handlers being injured when one of the horses used to haul the tram bolted. This freak incident was a very sad end to what had been a historic and wonderful occasion.

At around 3:00pm on Monday 26th August, one of the horses which had been hired to pull Leeds 107 bolted during the process of changing ends. Whilst attempting to calm the horse, one of the accompanying staff was pushed underneath the tram, which was moving very slowly at the time. Emergency procedures were immediately put into place and once the woman had been rescued, she was taken to hospital with a suspected two broken legs.

This was a terrible conclusion to what should have been a weekend of great celebration for members of the Leeds Transport Historical Society, who have restored Leeds 107 into the stunning tram seen by visitors at the Middleton Railway’s transport event. After seven years of painstaking work, the tram entered passenger service for the first time in more than a century on Sunday 25th August, following initial empty running for testing and familiarisation purposes. Recent finishing touches, such as the application of period style advertisements, have created a beautiful vehicle and everyone involved in its restoration should be justly proud of what they achieved, as the quality of workmanship is absolutely superb. Short rides on the horse tram were offered over two days for £2 per person, with the proceeds being used to cover the high costs of hiring in horses for the event. Following the weekend’s events, 107 was loaded up on the morning of Tuesday 27th August and arrived at Crich Tramway Village the following day.

Our thoughts and sympathies go to not only the victim of this terrible incident, but also those who witnessed it, particularly the tram crew, as well as the event organisers. We sincerely hope that the woman who was hurt makes a speedy recovery, and that 107 can now look forward to an incident-free future in preservation.

Please note that, due to the sensitive nature of this article, any comments posted on it will be subject to more heavy moderation than usual.

Leeds 107 seen pausing between journeys whilst operating at the Middleton Railway on 26th August; its second day in service following extensive restoration work. (Photo by Andrew Waddington)

 

 

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5 Responses to Accident at Leeds horse tram launch event

  1. Susan Garrett says:

    I was on the top deck of the tram when this happened. The tram wasn’t moving at the time of the accident. Whilst waiting for passengers to board the horses became skittish and the groom tried to calm them. She couldn’t hold them and I learned later that she was dragged under the tram. The horses took off pulling the tram behind them, which was very scary, and were stopped when a man ran in front of them with his arms out. I am assuming that the groom was dragged along under the tram so although her injuries are serious it could have all ended far worse. Our thoughts and best wishes go to the groom but I don’t think we will be boarding a horse drawn vehicle again!

  2. Jamie Guest says:

    Thank you for your comment Susan. I was on the lower deck when it happenned and wasn’t aware that anyone was upstairs. I was then too involved in the aftermath to see what ws happenning upstairs. As the Project Manager and Secretary of the Society I am very sorry to hear how badly the incident has affected you. As you say it appears that it could have been a lot worse and fortunately the lady is recovering in hospital and her injuries, though still serious, are not as bad as first thought. I will ensure that your best wishes are passed on to the family. At present the incident is subject to an investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch and I am unable to comment further on the circumstances. Thanks for getting in touch. Jamie Guest

    • Susan Garrett says:

      I totally understand that your attentions were on more serious things. To be honest until we knew that the woman injured was in the hands of the emergency services the shock of what happened didn’t fully hit us as we were just concerned for her. I am relieved to learn that she is making a recovery. Just for your information, Jamie there were four of us upstairs. My husband and I and another man with a young boy.
      I know the accident will have come as a blow to you too and am sorry that you had to have this happen on what should have been a day to celebrate.

  3. Richard Burnley says:

    Firstly, as a Leeds tramway enthusiast, my thoughts go out to the lady that was injured at this event. I myself intended to be present at the event but was unable to be there.
    On a positive note, 107 is looking spectacular and a credit to the work of the LTHS. Keep up the good work guys and I will be seeing 107 along with the other Leeds stalwarts at Crich soon.