Tramways

Overview: safety performance on tramways remains consistent and fairly strong. However, changes to Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) incident reporting legislation and enhanced industry procedures led to a notable increase in the reporting of tram collisions with road vehicles. 

Overall tram passenger numbers continued to grow, up 2%. There were 94.4 million passenger journeys on the seven English tramways in 2014-15. This figure does not yet include the new Edinburgh Tram.

Evidence: UKTram, Britain's light rail and tramway industry trade body (sponsored by DfT), was reconstituted at an annual general meeting on 23 December 2014. This was an important step into a more proactive group with an explicit commitment, among others, to prepare and publish guidance, including safety guidance. As part of this process, we signed an agreement for UKTram to own the high-level guidance document (Railway Safety Principles 2 and Guidance on Tramways), which was previously managed by us.

We have worked with the sector to improve industry incident recording centrally by, for example, producing clearer guidance in response to changes to the RIDDOR regulations and refinements to data capturing systems. This process highlighted that some minor tram-road vehicle collisions should have been reported to us. This, along with the recent opening of new extensions to Manchester Metrolink's network, which operates more intensively along the road, led to a notable rise in reports of tram collisions with road vehicles – see page 37. 

We do not believe that there was an actual rise in tram collisions with road vehicles, because we have not seen a parallel rise in secondary reports of injuries. Instead we believe those incidents are now being recorded more accurately. We encourage this as it helps identify areas and patterns where additional safety controls may be required.

We support UKTram's ongoing work to develop a more consistent system of incident and accident recording across the tramways. We encourage their exploration of appropriate benchmarking to assess safety performance across the sector.

Manchester's Metrolink network continued to grow with a new line to its airport and the new Edinburgh Tram opened on 31 May 2014. Our inspectors have been focused on monitoring the safety aspects of how these lines come into operation. We kept oversight of Edinburgh tram coming into operation under the Railways and Other Guided Transport (Safety) System pdf icon PDF, 795 Kb safety verification process. Tram passenger journeys increased 4% on Croydon Tramlink, 8% on Nottingham Express Transit, 7% on Manchester Metrolink, but declined on Blackpool Tramway, Midland Metro and Sheffield Supertram.