New warning signs for Luas trams after ‘trap and drag’ incidents

Man was dragged along platform at Heuston Luas stop after his hand became trapped in door

Images showing a woman getting her hand trapped in the door of a Luas tram at the Jervis Street stop, January 22th 2020.

Images showing a woman getting her hand trapped in the door of a Luas tram at the Jervis Street stop, January 22th 2020.

 

New warning signs are to be installed on all Luas trams to warn passengers of the danger of closing doors following a series of “trap-and-drag” incidents over the past two years.

A new report has revealed that a male passenger escaped injury after being dragged along the platform of the Luas stop at Heuston last year by a tram after his hand became trapped in a door.

The report by the Department of Transport’s Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) found the obstacle detection system on the doors of the Luas did not detect the presence of the man’s hand.

The mechanism, which operates widely in rail and tram systems around the world, does not operate for the final 10 millimetres of the door closing sequence in order to prevent doors reopening when they touch each other.

The incident took place at 2.22pm on March 26th 2019 as the man attempted to board the rear door of the last carriage on a Luas tram travelling towards the city centre.

The tram departed the stop 19 seconds after the door closed with the man’s hand still trapped in the door.

Two Luas security staff came to the passenger’s assistance with one of them alerting the tram driver by radio. A jogger who was passing by and witnessed the incident also ran to the front of the tram to warn the driver.

The passenger walked along the platform with his hand trapped in the door for five seconds before the security staff assisted in freeing him. The tram came to a stop four seconds later.

While preparing its report, the RAIU said it became aware of a similar incident which took place on January 22th 2020 when a woman pushing a buggy got her hand trapped in the tram doors at the Jervis stop and was dragged along beside the tram. Although her hand only became free as she began to fall onto the platform, she was uninjured.

Further images of the incident at Jervis Street Luas stop on January 22th 2020 as the customer frees her hand from the moving tram and falls on the platform.
Further images of the incident at Jervis Street Luas stop on January 22th 2020 as the customer frees her hand from the moving tram and falls on the platform.

The RAIU noted Transdev, the Luas operator, had issued three notices to tram drivers about door entrapment incidents during 2018 following a series of similar incidents in Ireland and the UK including a passenger’s hand being trapped in the doors of a tram at Saggart on August 22nd 2018.

A child in a buggy travelling on a Luas had its hand trapped in the door between stops at Kylemore and Red Cow on September 18th 2018.

Although the RAIU report said the immediate cause of the incident at Heuston was the passenger trying to board the tram as the doors were closing, it said a contributory factor was the failure of the tram driver to conduct an adequate visual check using rear view monitors and mirrors during and after the door closing sequence.

The report made a total of 10 safety recommendations as a result of the incident including one to Transdev to make it a requirement for drivers to conduct a thorough visual check before moving the tram to ensure nothing is trapped in the doors.

Since the incident, Transdev said it has designed warning labels to alert passengers about the danger of closing doors which were with Transport Infrastructure Ireland for approval, while it is also due to install new coloured rear-view cameras and monitors on trams.