Emergency tram plan was shambolic

Tram collision at Shalesmoor
Tram collision at Shalesmoor
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My wife works at Shalesmoor. She heard about the crash and rang to warn me about 9.30am. I decided to walk in to make sure I got to the city centre in time for a phsyio appoitment at Ponds Forge at 3pm.

The video screens were in “test” mode at my stop, Leppings Lane, when I reached there at 2.10pm. I told a young woman about the crash and that I thought there were replacement buses. The next two stops have no screens, including Hillsborough. The travel office is next door to the tram stop so they could just felt-tip a notice “Trams not running to… Replacement buses at Interchange. Tickets valid on Stagecoach services” and tape it up. There were no notices at the tram stop.

The next two stops have screens showing “No service to Shalesmoor, Malin Bridge and Hillsborough. More info from www….. and Twitter.” I’m now in Upperthorpe where a lot of people have landlines and library web access only – the latest 3G technology is not affordable for many.

I reach Shalesmoor around 2.45pm where the battered tram remains with 2 others on. I ask 2 Supertram staff why the screens do not say “replacement buses running”. They say there are no replacement buses – people are being told to use regular services. I was sure I had seen a couple already – maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.

In the city centre there are no notices posted at stops – there were none at any stops on the route. Just the rolling screen with the same text I saw earlier.

I walk back to Shalesmoor – still the same rolling message on the screen. I am fortunate to get a 57 bus quickly and get off at the Hillsborough shops passing about six people standing at Hillsborough tram stop oblivious to their predicament – still no notice up.

As I cross the road by the tram stop I see a bus go by marked “tram replacement”. I walk to Leppings Lane and see another tram replacement bus. Arriving at the stop at 4.05 pm I see one of the screens now working and a second message coming up “Tram replacement buses in operation. Or use bus numbers…..” Result ! Only 5 ½ hours after the crash.

I have never understood why an emergency plan covering a major service breakdown cannot get printed information up at all tram stops within 60 minutes to two hours maximum. Two people on foot should be able to get the notices up within 90 minutes – quicker on bikes or in a van. Can Supertram tell us what their emergency plan is?

Eamonn Ward

Sheffield Green Party