BRITAIN - More than 40 Hurt as Trams Collide at Seaside : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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May 1 2000 BRITAIN Title: Forty Hurt as Trams Collide at Seaside


MORE than 40 people were hurt yesterday when two tourist trams collided at a seaside resort. Police said that 17 people, including children and pensioners, needed hospital treatment for minor injuries after the accident on the Great Orme in Llandudno, North Wales.

The crash happened two-thirds up the 679ft peak as the trams travelled in opposite directions on the single track. They should have crossed on a short passing loop.

It was two years to the day when the last accident - a similar collision - happened on the tramway.

Most of the injured suffered cuts, bruises and whiplash injuries after being thrown forward. Conwy Council, which operates the trams, said that an investigation would be held. Richard Triggs, the council's transport manager, said at the scene: "It would appear that the points on the bottom end of the bypass had been incorrectly set."

Among the injured were members of a family party of eight from Smethwick in the West Midlands who had travelled to Llandudno on a coach trip. Albert Higgs, 63, who was travelling with his four grandchildren aged nine to 14, suffered an injured nose. He said: "The collision was steel-to-steel. There were no bumpers to cushion it."

Mrs Yvonne Cooper, 63, who injured her hip and hand, said: "I was thrown forward into the seat in front." Children were screaming but many were saved from injury by other passengers who were able to grab hold of them.

The tramline is a century old and the only fatalities were in 1932 when a tram crashed at a steep lower section, killing the driver and a girl. Trams have twice been blown over on the Orme, in 1917 and 1982.

A continuous loop of cable powers the two trams, played out from a power-house half way up the headland. The Great Orme Mines and Country Park is a popular tourist attraction, drawing crowds in the summer months to enjoy the view from the limestone headland and visit the cafe and visitors' centre situated there.

A spokesman for Llandudno General Hospital said that casualties were treated for minor injuries before being released. An elderly woman who banged her head was being kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.

One woman hurt in the accident said that she heard an "almighty bang" as the trams collided. Betty Collins, 69, had been travelling with her husband, Les, and her grandchildren. She said: "The first thing I heard was this almighty bang. I hit my head on the upright bar behind me."

Mrs Collins said that her first thoughts had been for the safety of her grandchildren but they were all uninjured.

Another passenger, who was not taken to hospital, said: "I was travelling up to the summit and looking out when I saw this other tram approaching. I braced myself for an impact but it was a fairly gentle bump."

Alan Guinn, Llandudno's mayor and a hotelier, went to the casualty department to speak to the injured. He said: "I've been asking them if they are all right and whether they need to make arrangements to get home if they have come on coach trips.

"It could all have been a lot worse."


-- (, May 01, 2000

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