RAIB release report into fatal collision between tram and pedestrian in Blackpool

The latest RAIB report to be released is in relation to a collision between a tram and pedestrian in Blackpool which tragically saw the 69 year old pedestrian die in hospital the following day from his injuries suffered. The collision happened on 24th November 2021 at a pedestrian crossing located to the south of the junction between Fleetwood Road and Queen’s Promenade adjacent to Anchorsholme Park.

The incident happened at 1811 on Wednesday 24th November 2021 when Flexity2 007 was travelling southbound between Fleetwood Ferry and Starr Gate. The tram had just stopped at Anchorsholme Lane and following the changing of the traffic lights in its favour was accelerating away from the stop and across the junction when Robert Dawson, 69, was using the pedestrian crossing from west to east.

The investigation concluded that the driver of the tram was not aware of Mr Dawson’s presence until it was too late to take action to prevent the collision. The pedestrian was wearing dark clothing and the lighting in the vicinity did not make it easy to see him crossing the tracks. It was also concluded that Mr Dawson was unaware of the speed of the tram or its vicinity to him and on board CCTV showed that he did not look towards the tram immediately before the collision happened. It was felt that the angle of the crossing across the tramway contributed towards this.

The immediate cause of the incident is said to be “the pedestrian crossed into the path of the tram as it passed over the crossing” whilst two casual factors were also identified “the tram driver did not take action to avoid the collision because he was unaware of the presence of the pedestrian on the crossing as the tram approached it” and “the pedestrian did not take action to avoid the tram”.

Since the collision occurred Blackpool Council have amended this crossing to make it safer for users. The new layout has removed foliage and extended the western approach to the crossing to make the crossing perpendicular to the tramway. New ornamental fencing was moved back into Anchorsholme Park and two additional streetlights have been ordered for installation on either side of the tramway near to the crossing. A traction pole to the western end of the crossing has also been relocated to improve sighting.

The RAIB have made three further recommendations:

  • Blackpool Transport Services, working in conjunction with Blackpool Council, should review its processes for assessing and controlling the risks arising from its tramway activities.
  • Blackpool Council, working in conjunction with Blackpool Transport Services, should review its process for identifying and assessing the risks arising from tramway activities, adopting and embedding best light rail industry practice as it does so.
  • Blackpool Council should review its assurance and audit process of Blackpool Transport Services.

There are also two learning points:

  • There should be clear and well understood processes for staff to report near misses
  • Tram operators should be reminded of the importance of having arrangements in place to periodically check the alignment of tram headlights

The full RAIB report can be downloaded on the RAIB website at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1118140/R142022_221117_Cleveleys.pdf

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2 Responses to RAIB release report into fatal collision between tram and pedestrian in Blackpool

  1. Tony Stevenson says:

    Every one gets the blame except the pedestrian who clearly was not looking where he was going. This was a most unfortunate acident but like similar cases elsewhere the tram gets the blame. The loss of life is regertable but this should recognize that pedestrians and other road users have a responsobility to be aware of there surondings

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    Since Huskisson was killed by Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830, the authorities have always had a more severe approach to accidents associated with things on rails than they have to road vehicles. So railway and tram accidents and fatalities of those who walk on the tracks unwarily or unwisely get reported more widely in the media than bus accidents. This is paradoxical, because (barring derailments) the trajectory of rail-bound vehicles is totally predictable, whereas a road vehicle on rubber tyres can well go astray, cross onto the wrong side of the road or mount the pavement causing a fatality. The only bus accident that caused such a review was a fatality when someone went onto the track of the guided busway in Cambridge, resulting in the closure of the southern section of the busway that remains in force. For some reason things on tracks are feared since Huskisson was killed.

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