By way of explanation, let's provide some context. Blackpool has the honour of having the country's oldest running tram - over 125 years.
Yesterday there was cause for celebration as the newly upgraded £100m tramway hit the tracks. VIPs were able to enjoy the ride. A four-year upgrade, 11km of track, a new tram depot, and 16 computerised trams. So impressed was the Transport Minster, Norman Baker, that he said, "Blackpool's trams are absolutely on the right track". In a cruel twist those words just couldn't have been more misplaced because today, as the trams were 'open for business', the trams just weren't on the right track, in fact it wasn't on any track at all as sand had caused its derailment. In true style it appears the service was then maintained for the remainder of today through the use of brushes and trowels!
Thankfully this didn't happen on April Fools day but I assume this is no laughing matter and some illumination is required in Blackpool over contractual liabilities.
- How can a tram service which has worked effectively for 125 plus years be upgraded and then not able to cope with, what you would have thought could have been, anticipated weather conditions?
- Was the specification right or too technical to correctly place liability for performance and functionality risk?
- What steps are required to make the trams fit for purpose, and who pays?
- Who pays the cost for those staff required to brush the sand of the tracks and how long will they be required (maybe something the Work Progamme could go into partnership on)?
I look forward to the next stage or should I say stop.