Isle of Man Newspapers – 6th December 2017
“The accident investigation into the runaway Snaefell mountain tram is ’progressing’, according to the head of the Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate.
Bernard Warden said his team was close to gathering all the evidence they need but he said he could not yet give a timeframe for when the report will be finished.
He said: ’It’s progressing. It’s a very comprehensive investigation.
’We are getting very close to completing the evidence collating phase. We should have all the evidence collated by the end of January assuming all parties are available. People from all quarters have been interviewed.’
The investigation was launched in August after a tram sustained brake failure after it left the summit terminus and hurtled across the Mountain Road at The Bungalow before the crew finally managed to stop it using the hand-operated fell brake.
Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt and no traffic was on the crossing at the time. Passengers told of their terrifying experience, with some reporting being in ’plane crash mode’.
The HSWI investigation is focusing on why the accident happened and on how such incidents can be prevented in future.
Statements are being obtained from the management, the tram’s driver and conductor, staff present at the Bungalow, passengers and maintenance staff.
Mr Warden said the next step would be to analyse the evidence in detail to see if there has been breaches of the relevant legislation.
’We are keeping an open mind,’ he said.
He said it was too early to say when the final report will be produced and it would be unfair on the team involved in the investigation to hold them to a deadline.
Mr Warden confirmed that a full report will not be made public, because of restrictions under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
But he said a ’fairly comprehensive’ summary of findings would be made public in due course.
Public transport chiefs said they ’reluctantly’ took the decision to suspend services on the Snaefell Mountain Railway at the end of September, given the ’nature and urgency’ of the changes identified by the HSWI.
But passengers on board the tram that day say services should have been suspended immediately.
The DoI said after the August 4 incident it made changes to the trams and operating procedures to improve safety. It had then commissioned a report from a UK tramway consultant. It said while ’significant improvements’ were made in early August, suspending services allowed staff to focus on the work that remained to be done.”
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