On Tuesday 30 May 2006 a prototype tram with a new type of running gear derailed on a curved section of the loop at Starr Gate on the Blackpool Tramway. The tram was undertaking a series of test runs when the derailment occurred at low speed. There were no injuries or significant damage caused by the incident.
The immediate cause of the incident was that the tip of the flange on a wheel contacted a worn section of the rail on the inner radius of the track curve and so climbed onto the rail head. The derailment risks associated with the operating of this type of tram on such a section of curved and worn track had not been previously identified and were therefore not mitigated.
RAIB has made two recommendations aimed at:
- further understanding the dynamic behaviour of the prototype tram;
- controlling rail wear on the Blackpool tramway.
Response to recommendations:
- RAIB will periodically update the status of recommendations as reported to us by the relevant safety authority or public body.
- RAIB may add comment, particularly if we have concerns regarding these responses.