REPORT:

Scope and Content

on the Great Orme Railway signed by [?Chambers]. The report details the working of the railway, split into the Lower Section and Upper Section. In addition to describing the workings of the railway, the report mentions previous operational and maintenance problems, and refers to previous inspection reports carried out by Mr. Dano and/or Colonel Tranch.

The report ends with a list of [attached] reports and official documents, all of which are listed below as Enclosures except for the last item which is missing (Statutory Rules & Order 1934, No. 1162) and a list of diagrams referred to in this report. Most of these diagrams have been identified in the collection of maps and plans which accompany this collection (C Maps & Plans 32) and are cross-referenced.

[It has not been possible to identify 2 of the diagrams].

Enclosed:

1. Extracts from the Great Orme Tramways Act 1898.

2. Statutory Rules & Orders 1904 No.1233.

3. Regulations & Bylelaws, dated 21 June 1904, made by the Board of Trade as regards cable power on the G.O.T.

4. Ministry of Transport report on the G.O.T. following an inquiry carried out by Lt. Colonel E.P. Anderson into the fatal accident that occured on the tramway on 23 Aug. 1932:

One of the tram cars descending the lower section suffered a fractured drawbar which resulted in the car coming loose and coming off the rails and smashing into a stone wall killing one member of staff and a young girl, and injuring 14 people.

The report outlines the history of the tramway; the working specifications and maintenance of the machinery including any problems; witness reports to the accident; the fractured piece of equipment that led to the accident and the final conclusions.

The investigator concludes that the accident occurred due to the breakage of the draw bar which was sent to the National Physical Laboratory for extensive tests, the results of which state that the material used to manufacture the drawbar was unsuitable for the intended use. Anderson criticises both the G.O.T. General Manager, Mr. Sutcliffe, and Messrs. Craven Brothers who carried out the machining and final heat treatment of the steel draw bars.

Sutcliffe was criticised for an 'error of judgement' by trying to counter the rapid wear on the drawbars by using harder material, instead of investigating further the cause of the rapid wear. He was also criticised for failing to supply a definite specification when ordering the drawbars or for fully informing Messrs. Craven Bros. as to the conditions of use.

Craven Bros. themselves were criticised for not querying such 'a loosely worded order for such special steel'. The English Steel Corporation forged the steel used to make the drawbars but they were not directly criticised in the report.

The fact that one of the draw bars had broken ten days earlier should have served as a warning to G.O.T. Anderson goes on to say that the breakage of the drawbar would not have had such serious consequences had the tramcar been fitted with the automatic brake required by Statutory Regulations. The automatic brakes had been removed from the tramcars sone years earlier, as they were considered to be oversensitive.

Anderson concluded that serious blame for removing the automatic brakes lay with Sutcliffe, although the G.O.T. directors must share some of the responsibility. In favour of the G.O.T., Anderson does note the previous record of the tramway and the efforts of the G.O.T. directors and general manager to keep the cables in good order.

Anderson recommends that all other drawbars made of the same material be immediately withdrawn from service; that the tramway service be suspended until all statutory regulations are complied with.

[2 copies]