Dozens hurt as two holiday trams collide on Welsh mountainside

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The Independent Online

Dozens of holidaymakers, the youngest aged five, were hurt yesterday when two packed trams collided at the Great Orme Mines and National Park, a national landmark mountain overlooking the bay of Llandudno in north Wales.

Dozens of holidaymakers, the youngest aged five, were hurt yesterday when two packed trams collided at the Great Orme Mines and National Park, a national landmark mountain overlooking the bay of Llandudno in north Wales.

The trams, which run on turn-of-the-century tramway which was first used in 1902 to take tourists up the mountain, were particularly busy yesterday afternoon. The accident happened about two-thirds up the 679ft mountain.

A spokesman for the north Wales ambulance service said: "There were about 40 casualties and we sent six ambulances to the scene. Seventeen people were taken to hospital. They all had minor injuries - cuts, bruises and whiplash - none with serious injuries."

Today there will be a full investigation by Conwy council - which runs the seven-ton trams - and the Health and Safety Executive.

The council's transport manager, Richard Triggs, said at the scene: "It would appear that the points on the bottom end of the bypass had been incorrectly set."

Among the injured were some members of a family party of eight from Smethwick in the West Midlands who had gone to Llandudno on a coach trip. Albert Higgs, 63, whose four grandchildren aged between nine and 14 were with him, cut his nose.

"We were coming down when suddenly there was a big bump," he recalled. "The collision was steel-to-steel, there were no bumpers to cushion it." Yvonne Cooper, 63, who hurt her hip and hand, said : "I was thrown forward into the seat in front."

A number of children were saved from injury by passengers who were able to grab hold of them.

It was two years to the day that the last accident happened on the tramway. Then, a tram and a coach were in collision on the bottom section. The only fatality on the tramway was in 1932 when a tram crashed at a steep lower section, killing the driver and a girl.

Meanwhile, May Day temperatures were set to reach 70F today, with meteorologists promising a sunny bank holiday throughout the country. Today's expected conditions are in stark contrast to one of the country's wettest Aprils on record, when sleet and snow grounded planes at Luton airport and Somerset suffered snowdrifts.

The Meteorological Office found that last month Southampton had over three times its average rainfall for that time of year, closely followed by Bracknell, in Berkshire.

Saturday provided a taste of the warm conditions to come when London was the hottest place in Britain with temperatures climbing to 68F.

Holiday resorts saw an influx of visitors with 90,000 hotel and bed and breakfast places being snapped up in Brighton and busy beaches in Bournemouth, which had temperatures of 57F.

Traffic analysts warned that traditional bank holiday day trippers will be joined by those coming back from an extended Easter break causing road congestion. Transport Information Services predict traffic volumes will increase by up to 35 per cent.

As people make the most of a second consecutive long weekend, tourist attractions such as Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park were set to receive record numbers.

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