The latest RAIB safety digest into an incident on a UK tramway has just been released and it relates to an incident which saw a pedestrian being hit by a tram at Gravel Hill tramstop on London Tramlink on 10th March 2020. This is just a safety digest as the safety learning isn’t a major change of procedures for UK tramways.
The incident being reviewed in this digest occurred at Gravel Hill at approximately 0805 on Tuesday 10th March 2020 when a tram had just departed from the tramstop with a service heading for New Addington. The tram was travelling at approximately 11mph (17kmh) when the person was struck with the pedestrian suffering minor injuries.
The crossing across the tracks at Gravel Hill is at the New Addington end of the platform with a road crossing just beyond this as the tram continues towards New Addington. CCTV footage reviewed by the RAIB shows that a large number of passengers had alighted from the tram and started to cross the tracks as the driver prepared to depart. The driver followed procedure by ringing the tram bell before departing (having been stationary at the stop for 22 seconds) and then accelerating from the stop. It took approximately 4 seconds for the tram to reach the crossing (investigations from the RAIB showed that other trams at this location take between 4 and 6 seconds to reach the crossing). Two people started to use the crossing about one second after the tram began to move, including the pedestrian who was struck by the tram.
The person who was hit by the tram stated during the investigation that she thought the tram driver would give way to pedestrians already on the crossing when the tram begins to move (although in this case the CCTV footage suggests that they didn’t start crossing until after the tram was moving). She also stated that although she was wearing earphones in each ear when on the tram she had removed one and was listening to the other at a low volume while on the crossing.
The RAIB was unable to determine why the driver misjudged the speed of the tram causing it to hit the pedestrian.
As a result of the investigation the RAIB have stated that the accident demonstrates the importance of:
* effective risk assessment at tram stops by tramway designers, maintainers and operators, taking account of local factors such as foot crossings, interaction with nearby road junctions and usage patterns including large passenger flows at the beginning and end of a school day
* tram operators developing tram stop departure routines based on an understanding of the local factors identified in their risk assessments
* drivers applying appropriate departure routines when leaving tram stops and giving particular attention to pedestrian movements around any nearby crossings
The full RAIB safety digest which goes into detail of the causes and circumstances surrounding the incident is available on the RAIB website.