Runaway mountain tram accident report is finished

The runaway tram pictured by passenger Nick Douglas before its terrifying descent from Snaefell summit

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The accident investigation report into the runaway Snaefell tram incident has been completed.

And the Inspector of Railways Bernard Warden, says he is now reviewing the draft report to decide on what action to take.

A decision is expected in the next two to three weeks.

The Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate investigation was launched last summer after a Snaefell Mountain Railway tram lost power to its brakes after leaving the summit station.

It hurtled out of control over the crossing at the Bungalow before the motorman was finally able to bring it to a halt using the manual fell brake.

Passengers told of their terrifying experience as tramcar no.2 careered out of control down the mountain.

Karen McLean, who was visiting the island from London with her husband Bruce and their three children aged seven, five and four, said: ’We were in plane crash mode.’

She said: ’It was like being in a plane going down. It was terrifying. The tram was out of control and we thought we would come off the rails and down the mountainside.

’We thought this would be the end of us.’

Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt and no traffic was on the Bungalow crossing at the time.

More than seven weeks after August 4 incident, the Department of Infrastructure finally announced it was suspending services.

Mr Warden, head of the Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate, said he was reviewing the draft report to decide ’on the route to take’, and a ’decision on the next stage’ would take two to three weeks.

The HSWI says that a summary of the investigation report will be made public - but that it cannot publish the full report without a change in legislation.

Services on the SMR, which had been under a health and safety prohibition notice since October, resumed on Good Friday.

The government said changes to the braking systems have been completed and the test data reviewed by the HSWI and a brake specialist.

There have also been improvements to control systems’ procedures and training materials.

As well as a complete refurbishment and performance testing of the fell brake system, the air pressure systems which control the electrical braking systems have been altered to make them simpler and more reliable in operation.

This has also included a new low pressure alarm and revised indicators. Safety rules have been amended to prevent further operation if the pressure alarm activates during operation.

Driver training has also been enhanced.

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