What Goes Into Towing a Tram?
Late last month, a tram derailed in Ascot Vale. Fortunately, nobody was harmed. The driver fell asleep at his post and the carriage approached a corner too quickly. It left its tracks, crashed through a bus shelter, took out a set of traffic lights, and ran into a fire hydrant in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 27 March.
We were not the emergency towing company that responded to the incident, but we thought our blog readers would like to know what goes into towing a tram. So this week, we wrote just that.
The crash occurred some time around 12.20am. The Age reports that it took 10 hours to clear the site, but also that Ascot Vale Rd was reopened by 8am. The carriage was towed to its depot in Essendon at 7.30am.
Melbourne’s emergency services were on the scene. Police Sergeant Jason Doyle understood that the driver may be charged with reckless driving. There were no passengers on the tram at the time and nobody was injured.
Famously, these trams can hit with the force of 30 rhinos. But what does that mean in terms of weight? Melbourne’s trams weigh anywhere between 20 and 30 tonnes, depending on model type.
A 24 hour towing service company was called to the scene too. It was their job to perform a salvage tow. They had to dislodge the tram from the crash and get it back on the road for it to be taken to the depot. A heavy haulage crew was able to relocate the tram to the middle of the road, from where a tow truck was able to tow the tram to its depot in Essendon. There, the damage will be inspected and, if it’s feasible, repaired.
There are a number of safety concerns to be considered before performing a job like this. Working with Melbourne’s emergency crews, the towing service providers would have had to be wary of any live wires and unsafe infrastructure before approaching the accident.
The Ascot Vale tram was not the only rail to be involved in a collision recently. Dandenong Ranges’ Puffing Billy was involved in an incident earlier in March. A van collided with the steam train at a rail crossing in Menzies Creek. One man was taken to hospital but is expected to be released soon.
It is unclear what caused the incident. From the pictures, it seems clear that another salvage tow would have been required to return the minibus to the road before transporting it to a mechanic.
Accidents can happen day or night. Be sure to drive safely and do not drive if you are tired, on medication or if you have been drinking. If you require an emergency tow, Garden State Towing are a tow truck company performing 24 hour towing services in Melbourne and the greater region.