Whilst tram derailments and incidents involving other road traffic are not unknown the horrific crash today in which five people lost their lives and many more have been injured with some serious - is fortunately a rarity. For a single deck tram to
both derail and overturn is exceptional however the images of this terrible event at Croydon clearly show the tram was either on or approaching a two track junction with a sharp curve - so the investigation will naturally be focussing on speed of the tram at this point and the condition of the trackwork in fine detail. Update : The death toll from this event rose to seven in later reports on Wednesday. The driver of the tram has been arrested by the police and charged with manslaughter. The tram is reported to have travelled at a speed far in excess of the stipulated level.
Blackpool has had its share of derailments, usually due to a build up of sand on grooved rail. In fact the very first run of the new Bombardier vehicles on the opening day involved a derailment at Fleetwood Ferry on the curve leading away from the station terminus - due to overnight build up of sand blown on to the road way from the shoreline. Fortunately on this occasion the car was only just leaving the tram stop on the official launch journey, entering the curve and thus at a very low speed.
There have been two incidents of overturned trams in service in Blackpool. Both involved Standard cars and both featured high wind gusts as the cause on exposed seafront lines. One was on the tramroad near to the Cabin in the 1920s with an almost new open balcony Standard car, and the other involved an enclosed Standard as it emerged from behind the Metropole Hotel heading northbound in the 1940s. In both cases there were only minor injuries sustained by passengers and crew.
The loss of life in Croydon indicates a far more substantial cause especially with the complete overturning of the articulated unit on to its side. Our sympathies go to the families of the bereaved and injured passengers, and to the staff of the Capital's flagship tram operation.