There have been six incidents on the Snaefell Mountain Railway involving loss of control or brake failure in the last five years.

"The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request made by a reporter for commercial radio station 3FM.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Howard Quayle has admitted the public transport division’s response to the runaway tram incident earlier this month could have been handled better.

Passengers spoke of their terror as the vintage tram careered down the mountain out of control and across the road at the Bungalow before the crew were able to bring it to a halt using the manual fell brake.

Director of public transport Ian Longworth said loss of power happened from ’time to time’, causing the crew to use the fell brake.

Approaching Bungalow there is no fell rail due to the road crossing but once across the manual brake could be applied and the tram stopped, he stated.

But passengers said he had downplayed the incident, which took place on August 4, and insisted the tram had been out of control for much longer, well before the fell rail stopped at the Bungalow crossing.

The Chief Minister said: ’I’m disappointed with the way that was dealt with. Lessons have to be learned.’

He said a new gauge had been fitted to the trams’ electric air brakes which will inform drivers immediately if there is a problem.

The FoI request asked how many incidents involving a loss of control or brake failure on any rolling stock on the island’s electric railways have been reported to and investigated by the Department of Infrastructure in each of the last five years.

Its response shows there were three incidents on the Snaefell Mountain Railway in 2013, none in 2014 and 2015, two in 2016 and one this year.

On the Manx Electric Railway, there was one incident in 2013 and two in 2014 but none since then.

The Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate is investigating the runaway tram incident.It says it will make public a summary of its findings but a full report will not be published. Details of another runaway incident on the SMR, in which a vintage tram was completely destroyed in 2016 when it rolled away from the Summit station unmanned, were only revealed following an FoI request submitted by the Examiner."

Click HERE to read the article on Isle of Man Newspaper's website.


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