Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer says he would prefer the full report of a health and safety investigation into this year’s runaway tram incident to be made public."

"Officers are investigating the August 4 incident, which left passengers terrified when a vintage tram careered down the Snaefell Mountain Railway, out of control, before crew members managed to bring it to a halt using the manual fell brake.

The health and safety at work inspectorate says it will publish a summary of its findings but there would need to be a change in legislation to allow the full report to be released.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that nearly 100 health and safety matters regarding the Mountain Railway have been logged in the past three years.

In Tynwald last week, David Ashford (Douglas North) asked Mr Harmer, whose department is ultimately responsible for the trams, whether the full report itself would be published, not just its findings.

When the minister said that was a decision for the health and safety at work inspectorate, Mr Ashford pressed him on whether he would like to see it published.

Mr Harmer replied: ’I prefer transparency and full disclosure, so that is my preference.’

He said the department took the incident very seriously.

It was the second time in free years the fell brake had had to be used after a ’failure or malfunction of the rheostatic braking system’.

The other occasion was last year, when an inverter cut out, possibly due to overheating. All such inverters have since been modified.

Mr Harmer added: ’There are a whole host of issues with heritage railways that we need to address, because things have moved on since they were first built.

’All of those must be treated with utmost seriousness and consideration because we must not just work with what was correct in the Victorian times, but what is right and proper today.’

In a written answer to a separate question, Mr Harmer revealed there had been 95 health and safety issues reported on the Mountain Railway from 2015-17.

Mr Harmer said: ’Staff must report all incidents, however minor, so that the department can build pictures of risk, which is the accepted good practice for a railway operation.

’This will include for example, incidents on or near a tram where passengers have taken ill, sheep on the line and so on.’”


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