Tram services along the Rochdale via Oldham line suspended after windows smashed
Date published: 17 June 2018
Parents are being encouraged to know what their children are up to after tram services were temporarily suspended due to antisocial behaviour in Oldham.
At about 6.30pm on Thursday 14 June, a driver reported that a tram window had been smashed between Hollinwood and Failsworth.
Services along the Rochdale via Oldham line were then temporarily suspended after two subsequent trams were also targeted when travelling through the same area. An ambulance was called for one person who reported having glass in their eye.
Police were called and TravelSafe Officers searched the area before services resumed. Overt and covert patrols were in place throughout the evening and will continue in the area. CCTV from the trams is now being viewed to see what footage can be handed to police.
The vandalism came two nights after four bus shelters were smashed in Heywood.
Despite the attacks, reports of antisocial behaviour (ASB) had been reducing as a result of joint operations with the other agencies within the TravelSafe Partnership and local policing teams following a spate of incidents in the local area earlier in the year, including on the transport network.
The Rochdale and Oldham areas will continue to be a focus for Transport for Greater Manchester, KeolisAmey Metrolink, police, local councils and other partners.
TfGM’s Head of Metrolink Danny Vaughan, said: “This is not a harmless prank or victimless crime; as well as one person injuring their eye, three trams were damaged and services had to be temporarily suspended because of the mindless behaviour of those responsible.
“We know from people who’ve been caught before that they don’t think of the consequences of their actions – which is why engagement programmes such as Crucial Crew is so important.
“Next time they’re thinking about launching a brick at a tram or a bus they need to think long and hard about how they’d feel if their parent, grandparent or sibling was the one sitting next to the window when it smashes – because at best it’s distressing and at worst can cause serious injury.
“With days staying lighter for longer kids tend to stay out later, and I’d appeal to parents to know what their children are up to and who they are with as they are key to helping solve the problem – which is prevalent across many areas, including our transport networks.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, said: “It is appalling that Metrolink were forced to temporarily suspend some services last night after a number of trams were attacked and had their windows smashed. I hope the person who was injured makes a full and speedy recovery.
“The people responsible for these attacks are endangering passengers and putting our public transport services at risk.
“The local police alongside TravelSafe officers are tackling this issue and police patrols continue in the area. However, I’d also encourage any local resident with information about these incidents to report it to the police. By working together we can help put a stop to this.”
District Superintendent Danny Inglis from GMP’s Oldham borough, said: “We are working with the TravelSafe Partnership with the aim of reducing these sorts of incidents.
“We need the help and support of the community and appeal for anyone who knows anything about this incident or has witnessed any antisocial behaviour to get in touch with police on 0161 856 8267.”
As well as an extensive network of CCTV, all Metrolink customer service representatives (CSRs) are now equipped with body-worn cameras, which can be used to help deter incidents and also for evidence-gathering.
Members of the TravelSafe Partnership are currently taking part in a three-week Crucial Crew event in Oldham, which aims to teach schoolchildren about the effects and consequences of ASB. The sessions will see several thousand children from schools across the borough take part.
A previous incident involving a young person damaging trams saw them visited by police. Following the visit they wrote to Metrolink apologising for their behaviour and telling staff how “shocked and upset” their parents were.