Firefighters have been put through their paces testing their response to an incident involving one of the new Citylink trams that hit the region’s transport network earlier this year.
Crews from Parkway, Lowedges, Central and Birley Moor fire stations all attended ‘Exercise Escape’, which tested South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s operational response to a potential incident on Sheffield’s tram network.
The 45-minute scenario involved a Citylink tram colliding with a scooter resulting in a casualty becoming trapped underneath. Fire cadets from the service’s Birley Moor branch also acted as casualties.
Stagecoach Supertram staff and South Yorkshire Police officers took part, so that fire officers could practice effective multi-agency working.
Station Manager Alastair Forster, said: “Our firefighters are ready to respond to a huge number of different incident types, from fires to road traffic collisions. We issue lots of guidance to our crews about the different sorts of scenarios they might come across in the line of duty, but really the best way of preparing our response is to test it out for real.
“We’re extremely grateful to Stagecoach Supertram for making the exercise as realistic as possible and providing some vital technical input on the day.
Katie Arthur, Head of Safety for Stagecoach Supertram said: “The safety of our passengers and other road users is our number one priority, which is why it is so important for us to take part in training exercises like these. By observing how the emergency services deal with incidents and through working closely with them, we can make sure we’re in the best possible position to deal professionally and appropriately should they occur in real life.”
South Yorkshire’s new Citylink vehicles were introduced in the regular Supertram timetable from October to support the existing tram service across the network. The new tram train route from Sheffield to Rotherham is expected to open in 2018, once rail infrastructure work, testing and driver training is complete. The Citylink vehicles will then be used across the route.
The Tram Train pilot will help the rail industry understand and assess the technical issues involved with planning and operating a Tram Train service. It will be the first time a Tram Train system has operated in the UK. The new service is unique because it links heavy and light rail infrastructure, systems and operations together to provide a new transport service between Sheffield and Rotherham. The vehicles are designed to run on both the Stagecoach Supertram system and the national rail network.
The Tram Train pilot will run for two years during which customer satisfaction, passenger numbers, reliability and costs are measured. After this pilot period, Tram Train will continue to run as a local service.