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RAIB investigating pedestrian fatality at Saughton

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  1. Tulyar
    Member

    The RAIB are now, after considering the case, investigating the recent fatal collision between a tram and pedestrian, at the path crossing of the off-street tram track near Saughton tram stop.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/collision-between-a-tram-and-a-pedestrian-edinburgh

    Details are limited but I'd note that Edinburgh has not fitted under run protection for the run-out zones at the path crossings. Croydon began a programme of retro fitting in 2012, and the Blackpool rebuilding - contemporary with Edinburgh construction - fitted full infilling around the rails at every off-street tram stop. These actions were as a result of the 2011 fatal crash in Manchester, where the lifeguard (under-run protection) on the tram failed to fully push the victim along/aside when they fell and went under the tram. (The tram had to be lifted to free the victim, trapped between the lifeguard and the road surface)

    There may be some review of the crossing points on the Stenhouse-Ingliston section, most of which appear to be 'constructed' rather than drop-in level crossing units. That is to say the crossing is a tarmac surfaced path with the gaps between rails and path sections, filled with a poured 'elastomer' They also take path users directly across the tracks with no forced 'stop' and look arrangement. There was a cyclist-tram collision on the Section between Edinburgh Park & The Gyle in 2014 one evening (night/dark conditions), it was not investigated by RAIB, and possibly did not warrant a formal RIDDOR record, through lack of any injury.

    Rail culture would report near miss incidents, but as the Croydon crash highlighted, the systems across the tram industry have not placed such a requirement for tram near misses.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/79663/s300_Saughton.jpg

    I'd note that the tactile paving there is slightly compromised by the vegetation growing over it.

    With the crossing at the top of an embankment will there be visibility issues

    Anyone using these crossings on a regular basis?

    NB Not sure if it was just the days or the way things just happened but on 27th Sept at around 17.00 on 2 cycles of the Mound-Princes Street junction, motor vehicles trapped on the box junction by pedestrians crossing prevented one Eastbound tram, plus every bus and a Westbound tram from moving through the junction, and then on 1st October, after the HST try-out ride, I sat at Haymarket with 'Spokes Mr Bikerail' and a jolly Bromptoneer with a Railfuture leaning discussing our experiences on the 'new' train - twice the Eastbound tram could not get out onto West Maitland Street because of the queue of cars at the pedestrian crossing lights, and the driver had to force in to the flow setting off Eastbound when the lights changed, on a number of other occasions it got a bit close, as the tram driver crept slowly past the rear end of a car sticking back over the track. How often is this still happening?

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. I cycle across the tracks just before Edinburgh Park Station and just after coming down from the railway bridge at the top of the Balgreen tram path when going to and from work.

    They've always felt very safe to cycle over and visibility is good at those two crossing points (plus you can hear the tram coming from a long way off in either direction at the bridge crossing because of the rattling, screeching and squealing racket the rails make).

    Might be a different story crossing on foot at the crossing nearer the Saughton tram stop. There looks to be a fair bit of vegetation and tree growth there which might limit the sightlines of the tramdrivers and pedestrians crossing over.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  3. paulmilne
    Member

    I use the same path more or less on a daily basis. The good thing is that when approaching the level crossing you are facing the direction of any tram on the line nearest you, giving you time to slow and check the other direction before proceeding. But I find that heading west there is an issue with tree branches obscuring sightlines to the west - not too much of an issue but not the best scenario.

    I've often thought some sort of warning light system would be useful here.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  4. acsimpson
    Member

    I don't use the Saughton stretch of the path on a regular basis but do go from the Gyle up to Edinburgh Park and find the crossings a mixed bag. The one just north of Edinburgh Park Central is fine as the sightlines are very clear. If I am approaching the crossing on the parallel path then I find any trams will also generally ding their bell to ensure I am aware of their presence.

    I find the light controlled toucan crossing at South Gyle to be infuriating though. So much so that I break my rule of waiting for the green man/bike when travelling with kids. This light sits permanently on red unless the button is pressed. There is no apparent reason for it to be red as there is only one tram every few minutes. If the road lights can sit on green unless a tram is approaching then why can the toucan lights not also do the same. Instead the designed crossing there is a three stage toucan which on a heavily laden Helios is a nuisance too far.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  5. wingpig
    Member

    " - twice the Eastbound tram could not get out onto West Maitland Street because of the queue of cars at the pedestrian crossing lights, and the driver had to force in to the flow setting off Eastbound when the lights changed, on a number of other occasions it got a bit close, as the tram driver crept slowly past the rear end of a car sticking back over the track. How often is this still happening?"

    Relatively frequently at the Princes Street/Lothian Road junction, generally from drivers going from Lothian Road to Charlotte Square at hometime and joining a queue spanning the junction. It was worse when the left-hand lane of South Charlotte Street was coned off for some reason recently.
    Relatively frequently between the Haymarket stop and West Maitland Street, where it's a joint effort by people turning out of Dalry Road and people emerging from Morrison Street not bothering to check whether or not the 'space' behind the vehicle they're aiming to end up behind has tram rails in it. This can result in traffic heading from West Maitland Street to turn up Torphichen Street being held at the lights for a few cycles until the tram the lights are waiting for escapes Haymarket.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  6. ejstubbs
    Member

    @acsimpson: I find the light controlled toucan crossing at South Gyle to be infuriating ... This light sits permanently on red unless the button is pressed.

    I'm 99.99% sure that the pelican crossing at the Haymarket tram stop defaults to green unless a tram is approaching. I've even had it stay green when I pressed the button because a westbound tram was preparing to depart (hustle alarm sounding, then right indicator on) - the tram driver even waved me across!

    Sounds like it might be worth flagging up the problem with the South Gyle crossing - though I'm not sure who to. I've not experienced that crossing on the ground but looking at it on Google (if it's the one that crosses both halves of the dual carriageway and the tram tracks just to the north-west of where the tram tracks cross the dual carriageway) then I suspect that the solution may not be straightforward. In the south-easterly direction there is only one stop line, so the lights there will stop road traffic to let the tram across, and peds & bikes can cross too, but the light for the crossing of the tram track will stay green for north-west bound trams to allow them to clear the road. IMO it's a fundamentally poor design to have brought all those conflicting movements together in one place. A bridge with ramped access would seem to be the obvious solution, but it would need to be a big one to clear the trams' overhead power lines.

    Anyone know what the painted "layby" just before the crossing of the south-east bound carriageway is supposed to be for? It looks like it might be supposed to show peds & bikes how to proceed towards the north-west bound tram platform, but the Google satellite view suggests that at least one white van driver regarded it as a legitimate parking place:

    Posted 1 week ago #
  7. acsimpson
    Member

    It's probably somewhere in the council to report it to. Although I have more important battles to fight with them if and when I find the time (eg the Dechmont Road/A8 crossing).

    The stop lines on the road are irrelevant to the crossing of the tram tracks as it is a separate stage of the toucan.

    I'm not sure when the aerial picture was taken and I'm not even certain that the layby line is still there so perhaps it was something to do with the construction. I'll check next time I'm passing.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  8. Heading west, descending the railway bridge after the golf course towards saughton isn't great. I've given up emailing/tweeting the council about visibility of city bound trams being obscured by the trees.

    The trams on that stretch do go fast (I presumed to get up the hill?) and rarely ting their warning bells.

    I cycle Gyle - Willowbrae - Gyle via Princes street probably 8 times a week. Tram progress is blocked by motor traffic nearly every time.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  9. rbrtwtmn
    Member

    Interestingly an Amsterdam intervention I noticed this year (and hadn't previously) was flashing lights (as at UK zebra crossings) on the street at a normal ped/cycle crossing when there was a risk from trams. At least I think I saw this. Need to trawl back through some photos to check. Very much worked by 'look out' principles rather than 'stop/go/' principles.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  10. Tulyar
    Member

    It might be useful for regular users of the crossing/s with poor sightlines to note this to RAIB by way of local observation.

    Did any report or follow-through take place on the guy who rode a bike into the side of a tram near the Gyle?

    Posted 4 days ago #

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