Report 09/2010: Fatal accident at Norbreck

Fatal accident at Norbreck, Blackpool Tramway, 5 August 2009.


On 5 August 2009, at around 10:06 hrs, tram number 719, running south from Cleveleys towards Blackpool, struck a pedestrian who was crossing the tramway on a roadway crossing at Norbreck tram-stop.  The pedestrian suffered serious injuries and died in hospital around five weeks later.

The immediate cause of the accident was that the pedestrian stepped into the path of the tram, which was unable to stop in time to avoid the collision.

The causal factors which led to the accident were: the tram driver did not perceive the risk in time to stop the tram, or provide a warning in sufficient time to avoid the accident; the tram’s speed on the approach to the tram-stop and crossing was around 20 mph (32 km/h) and this was contrary to the way the driver had been trained; the tram did not stop at the tram-stop; the pedestrians were unaware of the immediate proximity of the tram, because seeing people waiting in the tram-stop shelter led them to assume that the tram would stop.  As a result, they did not look to their left again as they crossed until just before the collision.

The probable causal factors were: the tram driver’s attention was to the left-hand side approaching the crossing; the tram driver incorrectly believed that the people in the tram shelter did not want to board the tram; and it is feasible that the combination of factors relating to the way the tram was driven were caused by the driver’s inexperience.

A possible contributory factor was the lack of a speed limit sign.

RAIB has made two recommendations to Blackpool Transport Services concerning the development and documentation of a company-wide policy for the determination and application of speed limits throughout the network; and the development and documentation of an effective and consistent system to monitor compliance with speed limits among tram drivers.

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.

RAIB Recommendation response for Norbreck

Published 10 December 2014