COMMUTER CHAOS STORY
FROM: Edinburgh, Scotland– June 14, 2018
Light Rail service to Scotland’s busiest airport has been shut down for more than 24 hours after a collision between a light rail train and a bus, causing the train to derail. An incident like this would absolutely cripple transit commutes if it occurs along one of the proposed Surrey LRT lines.
This incident on the Edinburgh Trams light rail system occurred at 5:20PM local time yesterday (June 13), according to numerous sources including the BBC, the Scottish Daily Record, The Sun, and the Edinburgh Reporter. No passengers were hurt, but the driver of the bus has been hospitalized for serious injuries.
Light rail service to Edinburgh Airport and several other stations has been completely shut down. As of 8:30PM local time today, light rail service to the airport has not yet been restored. Service remains disrupted due to removal of the derailed train and the need to check for track damage. The operator, Edinburgh Trams, does not expect to be able to restore service until tomorrow morning.
Tram destroyed in crash with a bus at Edinburgh Airport due to be lifted in the next hour pic.twitter.com/AiUT3cK3Gb— Derek Ferguson (@DerekFerguson4) June 14, 2018
Airport commuters have been forced to rely on alternate bus service.
However, those not taking transit into the airport will be stuck in traffic. As the incident has blocked a major roadway into the airport, it has also snarled traffic for airport commuters. Edinburgh Evening News described the chaos as a “horrendous traffic jam” that is “crippling Edinburgh Airport”.
Mum waits with baby for two hours in Edinburgh Airport traffic jamhttps://t.co/wH5zxk0AWE— Edinburgh Evening News (@edinburghpaper) June 14, 2018
One passenger reported that they had missed their flight to Madrid as a result of the incident.
Frustrated passengers have flooded social media with comments expressing their outrage at the shutdown, with some commenting that they have raised concerns about the potential of collisions at grade-level crossings:
@EdinburghTrams If you're running between Gyle and York Place (as your tannoy keeps telling us), any chance of a citybound tram at Edinburgh Park Central. Incidents happen, but this is ridiculous. Its been over half an hour...— Blair Dinwoodie (@blairdin) June 13, 2018
@EdinburghTrams currently waiting for about 30 minutes at Edinburgh Park Station for a tram going to the city. No info about when the next one will run, meanwhile 6 trams have passed I the other direction. How long do we have to wait?— Say what!? (@yesiamfeminist) June 13, 2018
Oh no how can the wonderfully vanity trams not work?— Stuart Lyon (@StuartLyon) June 13, 2018
The proposed Surrey Light Rail Transit system will run at street level on segments of 104th Avenue, King George Boulevard and Fraser Highway. Incidents like this where LRT trains are involved in collisions with vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians can necessitate complete shut downs of that segment of the LRT system lasting several hours.
Once again, this incident highlights a major, fundamental flaw of the proposed street-running light rail system endorsed by TransLink, the Regional Mayors’ Council, and the City of Surrey. The proposed LRT lines run in the medians of major arterial roads, and would cross through several busy intersections at street level. Any one of these busy intersections could be blocked and shut down if there is an accident.
Edinburgh’s tram system has been criticized frequently for its high cost and lack of benefits to transit commuters. An inquiry into the tram project, engaged by the Scottish government, recently concluded that it was a ‘poor deal for council’, citing that the tram project was “delivered years late, hundreds of millions of pounds over budget on a shortened route.”
Edinburgh tram is slower, more expensive and less frequent than bus - & when it has an accident the system dies http://t.co/LNg3sJU4uq— Richard Wiseman (@RichardWiseman) August 29, 2014
SkyTrain for Surrey has called for the cancellation of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project, the conversion of the Surrey-Langley LRT into a SkyTrain extension of the Expo Line, and the construction of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue (instead of an LRT).
With BRT’s ability to detour around accident areas, and SkyTrain’s ability to simply pass overhead, a rapid transit system built on SkyTrain and BRT would not be subject to total disruptions.
Surrey residents expect their future rapid transit system to be a trustworthy and reliable service. A street-running LRT system will not deliver one.
SkyTrain for Surrey is the community organization that advocated for the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension, and continues to push for high-quality rapid transit projects in Surrey and Langley. We began as a petition calling for the scrapping of a street-level LRT proposal, which eventually amassed more than 6,000 signatures, and later contributed to making SkyTrain an election issue as a registered third-party advertiser. SkyTrain for Surrey continues to call for high-quality projects that offer a positive return-on-investment and recognize the rapidly increasing demand for transit.
Daryl Dela Cruz – Founder, SkyTrain for Surrey
Phone: +1 604 329 3529, [email protected]