Saving lives on the lines

Blackpool Transport has purchased new hydraulic lifting equipment that firefighters can use in the event someone becomes trapped under one of the resort's trams. Left to right: Emma Tingle and Bryan Lindop, of Blackpool Transport, fire station manager Mick Duffell and''crew manager Martin Dillon.
Blackpool Transport has purchased new hydraulic lifting equipment that firefighters can use in the event someone becomes trapped under one of the resort's trams. Left to right: Emma Tingle and Bryan Lindop, of Blackpool Transport, fire station manager Mick Duffell and''crew manager Martin Dillon.
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New, potentially life-saving, equipment has been fitted to fire engines to help prevent deaths on Blackpool’s tram lines.

The equipment –including 50-tonne hydraulic jacks –is specially designed to lift the resort’s new Bombardier trams in the event someone gets trapped underneath.

The equipment will be carried on Fylde coast fire engines as part of new measures aimed at boosting safety.

It means emergency services can hope to prevent a real-life repeat of a famous Coronation Street scene filmed in Blackpool 25 years ago, which saw infamous Wetherfield resident Alan Bradley meet his end beneath a Blackpool tram.

Firefighters, who have been trained to use the new equipment, say it will improve their ability to carry out “complex rescues”. As of this week, the machinery is being carried on fire engines based at South Shore and Bispham.

South Shore and Bispham station manager Mick Duffell said: “The new equipment provided will enhance firecrews’ existing capability to carry out complex rescues on the new trams, improving public safety on the coast.

“In close consultation with Lancashire Fire and Rescue, Blackpool Transport purchased the equipment and opened its doors to for crews so they could practice lifting techniques, which has been invaluable demonstrating how well we work together.”

Blackpool Transport tramway manager Lee Ryder said: “We are very pleased to be assisting Blackpool district fire crews with the Bombardier lifting equipment, as safety is paramount to Blackpool Transport.

“We really hope that this equipment won’t be required, but if it is, we know all the relevant people are trained to use it”.

Although accidents on the tram lines are rare, a teenage boy had to be airlifted to hospital earlier this year after getting trapped underneath a tram.

The 15-year-old was crossing tram tracks on New South Promenade with friends in July, when the force of the collision pulled him under the carriage.

In July 2013, a cyclist suffered serious injuries after colliding with a tram, while in February 2013, an elderly woman was taken to hospital after being clipped by a tram.