Investigations are continuing after Sheffield’s controversial new tram-train derailed on its first day of service, grinding the city to a halt in a ‘major incident’ after it was hit by a lorry.
Four passengers suffered minor injuries after the crash in the Attercliffe area as emergency services descended on the scene at 3.20pm last Thursday, 25 October.
The tram shifted around 30 feet sideways from the tracks at the intercrossing with Stanniforth Road, close to Woodbourn Road tram stop.
The Sheffield Star reported that South Yorkshire Police had made no arrests, and that the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) are now conducting an investigation.
Steve Barber, a passenger on the tram and vice-president of the Light Transit Association, told the BBC: “We bounced off the rails, went into the air, and then crashed into the ground.
“It’s a complete wreck, staff were crying.”
From ceremony to derailing
Only hours before, the opening ceremony for the brand new government-funded venture featured Rail Minister Jo Johnson and Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.
The first of its kind in Britain, it sees a tram able to also run on the main railway network linking Sheffield’s tram system with Rotherham in three services an hour.
But, arriving almost three years late and £60m over-budget, last year the Commons Public Accounts Committee branded the scheme as an example of “how not to” manage a rail project.
The crash caused severe disruption to travel around the city, with passengers unable to travel directly by tram between the city centre and Meadowhall, and heavy congestion was reported.
At the scene, Forge Press witnessed the recovery operation continuing into the evening with police in attendance and maintenance workers continuing to assess the damage.
A Stagecoach Supertram spokeswoman said on Thursday: “No one has been seriously injured, however a small number of people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
“We are assisting police with their inquiries into the circumstances.”
‘Pioneering’ and ‘ambitious’
The idea for the pilot project originated in 2012, and a two-year trial phase will be used to decide on a wider roll-out.
Mr Johnson hailed it as “pioneering” at the launch, adding: “It lays the groundwork for ambitious transport schemes right across the country that should give commuters more choice.”
A report last year deemed it “unacceptable” how costs soared to £75 million from an initial £15 million, and questioned its value for taxpayers.