‘Prompt action’ needed to improve safety of Sheffield junction where two tram-trains crashed in space of five weeks

Rail accident investigators have advised an urgent review of a road junction should be taken where two tram-trains were involved in crashes in the space of just five weeks.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has written to Sheffield Council following crashes at the juncton of Staniforth Road and Woodbourn Road last year.

The scene of the crash. Picture and video: Sam Cooper / The Star.

The scene of the crash. Picture and video: Sam Cooper / The Star.

Four people were injured when the tram-train crashed into a lorry carrying gas canisters at around 3.30pm on October 25 – just hours after the service welcomed passengers for the first time.

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And then on November 30, one person was injured following a crash between a tram-train and a car.

Now, the RAIB said the council needed to look again at the safety of the junction and also issued advice regarind the design of tram tracks following the incidents.

Investigators at the junction of Woodbourn Road and Staniforth Road following the November accident. Picture: Dean Atkins

Investigators at the junction of Woodbourn Road and Staniforth Road following the November accident. Picture: Dean Atkins

“The RAIB has written to the chief executive of Sheffield Council advising that a risk-based review of this junction and the road traffic signals is carried out, and that prompt action is taken based on the findings of this review.

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“The RAIB also noted that the positioning of a pole supporting the tramways’s overhead power supply wires had the potential to worsen the outcome of the accident of November, 30 2018.

“The RAIB has also written to UK Tram, which is the trade body representing the UK light rail industry, and responsible for providing guidance to constructors, operators and maintainers of such system.

“The RAIB has suggested that UK Tram consider whether guidance for the placement of such supply poles in close proximity to roads which cross tramways is required.

“The RAIB’s letter refers to guidance on this subjectwhich has been issued by a French government body, the Service Technique des Remontees Mecaniques et des Transports Guides.”

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The pilot project was orginally due to be operational in 2015 at a cost of £15 million.

It launched almost three years late at a total cost of £75 million.

The Star has contacted Sheffield Council for a comment and is awaiting a response.