On Tuesday 19 December Midland Metro trams 09 and 10, both returning from Wolverhampton St. Georges to Birmingham Snow Hill, collided near the Soho Benson Road tram stop. Passengers and staff sustained minor injuries as a result of the collision, with thirteen passengers taken to hospital although all were discharged the same day. Both trams sustained damage to their cabs.
The immediate cause of the incident was that tram 10 failed to stop short of tram 09, which was stationary due to a technical fault. Causal factors were tram 10’s driver failing to modify driving technique while dazzled by low-lying winter sun, and the driver applying the train’s hazard brake too late. Contributing factors were tram 10’s driver having reduced visibility because of the sun, the driver being occupied with adjusting a sunblind that would not remain in position, and that procedures did not require failed trams to display hazard lights while causing an obstruction.
RAIB has made three recommendations aimed at:
- the design and maintenance of tram sunblinds;
- the use of hazard warning lights on failed trams; and
- an assessment of Midland Metro’s off-street tram operation.
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.