At around 13:29 hrs on 15 December 2017, an empty pushchair became trapped on the outside of a tram at Radford Road tram stop, Nottingham, when its plastic rain cover was caught between closing doors. It was then dragged to the next tram stop where it was crushed against the kerb. Nobody was physically injured.
A passenger had pushed the pushchair off the tram as the doors were closing because she wished to remain with another passenger who had been removed from the tram by a Nottingham Trams’ travel officer. The rain cover was too thin to trigger the system which automatically reopens the doors if an obstacle is detected. The final visual door check, which drivers are required to carry out before departing from a tram stop, did not result in the driver being aware that the pushchair, shown as a small object on a CCTV monitor in his cab, was in an unsafe position. A larger image of the pushchair was not available to the driver when doing this check because of a modification to the tram’s CCTV system. The travel officer and other staff at the tram stop were unable to stop the tram departing, and the tram driver remained unaware of the pushchair until he arrived at the next tram stop.
Inadequate risk assessment by Nottingham Trams is the probable underlying cause for its staff placing inappropriate reliance on the doors closed indication, being unaware of the importance of the final door visual check, and the way in which the tram CCTV arrangements were modified. The incident also showed that training of travel officers was inadequate.
The RAIB investigation has resulted in two recommendations, both addressed to Nottingham Trams, and one learning point. The first recommendation seeks improved arrangements for preventing trap and drag events. The second requires improvements to Nottingham Trams’ risk assessment processes. The learning point reminds all tram drivers that they must carry out a thorough final door visual check, and not rely solely on doors closed indications, when deciding whether it is safe for their tram to depart.
Published 10 September 2018