Tram crashes spark call for safety review

Last week's crash in Fleetwood
Last week's crash in Fleetwood
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The Fylde coast’s tramway isn’t safe enough – with dozens of crashes between trams and vehicles being recorded over the past decade – an MP has claimed.

Paul Maynard said he will demand answers from County Hall after 64 ‘incursions’ by cars, buses, and even an ambulance since 2005.

Paul Maynard (left) with Stephen Clarke, a transport safety campaigner from Fleetwood

Paul Maynard (left) with Stephen Clarke, a transport safety campaigner from Fleetwood

That figure, released by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), does not include Thursday’s crash in Lord Street, Fleetwood, which involved a Flexity tram and two cars.

Mr Maynard said: “I am sure people will share my concern at the figures I have obtained from the RAIB showing the level of vehicular intrusion on the Blackpool tramway.

“Locals are more than aware of the dangers where the roads cross the tram tracks, but visitors certainly are not always as well informed.

“A worryingly high proportion of the incidents are in Cleveleys, and I’ll be demanding to know what the county council will do to make these safer.”

A silver Vauxhall collided with a tram on the tracks, close to where Rossall Road turns to Brighton Avenue in Cleveleys, in July 2015

A silver Vauxhall collided with a tram on the tracks, close to where Rossall Road turns to Brighton Avenue in Cleveleys, in July 2015

As well as numerous crashes, incidents investigated by the RAIB include vehicles blocking the tramway after driving onto them.

Crashes have been reported across the network, including several in Lord Street in Fleetwood, in Victoria Road South, Cleveleys, and close to the Metropole Hotel on the Promenade in North Shore –which is where the accident involving an ambulance happened in October 2009.

Andrew Varley, public transport manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “The signage was independently reviewed when the tramway was upgraded, as part of a stringent safety audit. No issues were raised at the time.

“We attend a regular safety meeting with representatives from various organisations about the tramway, including the Office of the Rail Regulator.

“At this meeting we review any incidents that may have happened, to see what factors may have contributed to them, and this can include any signage issues.

“No specific concerns have been raised with us about this, but we will look into any safety issues if we get feedback from a number of people.”