Claims that a photograph of the fell brake on the runaway tram shows that it was badly worn have been rejected by the man in charge of the heritage railways.

"Ian Longworth, Director of Public Transport, explained that only the top half of the brake shoe is in contact with the fell rail.

He said: ’The Snaefell railway does not work quite as people presume.'

’The cars originally had what is presumed to be cast iron shoes, all one piece and replaced at the hanger when worn.'

’Later, and we do not know when, or why, that was changed to be a fabricated bracket on the hangers having a steel plate brake shoe attached.'

’The design has contact with the rail only on the top half so the shoe wears into an upside down L shape.'

’Many people presume that the contact is full on the side of the rail which it is not.’

Mr Longworth added: ’It should be remembered that all the heritage railways are Victorian with related levels of technology and lack of failsafe systems.'

’We have formal training of staff of these systems, a strong safety culture of reporting of all incidents and potential incidents so that we can have an operation which is as safe as it reasonably can be.’

Mr Longworth said that the public transport division is constantly investing in making improvements and renewals to improve standards after, a recent report noted, 40 years of under-investment on the railways.

He said the electric trams were built between 1893 and 1906, and on the MER they cover a total of around 90,000 miles a year with individual cars in several cases reaching 15,000 miles each."

The full article is available to view HERE.


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