Fatal tram accident paralyses Lodz centre

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Rescue workers at the Al. Mickieiwicza/Kosciuszki crossroads in Lodz.
Photo TVN.

(Click thumbnail to see see original image and article (Polish) on TVN website.)

A serious accident occurred during this morning’s rush hour at the crossroads of Al. Mickiewicza and Al. Kosciuszki in the centre of Lodz. A tram jumped the rails and careered over the tarmac smashing into a metal column supporting the overhead wires which supply the traction current to the tramlines. The driver was killed, 4 people are reported to be fighting for their lives, 7 others are less seriously injured. The crossroads where the accident occurred is one of the busiest ‘flat’ road junctions in the centre of Lodz where the main North – South route through the town centre crosses the main East – West route.

Eyewitnesses recall seeing one tram negotiating the southbound turn from Mickiewicza to Kosciuszki successfully. The following tram was supposed to run straight across the junction, but it appears that the point blades did not completely return to the ‘straight through’ position, but took up an intermediate position. When this tram reached the point it derailed and after wobbling, steadied and ran in a south easterly direction across the tarmac until it hit the support column.

Lodz residents have long been expressing concern about the state of the tracks on which their trams run and at least one section of tram line has been temporarily closed until the city’s public transport company, MPK-Lodz Sp z o o, aquires the funding to lay a new line. However, the Al. Mickieiwicza / Kosciuszki junction was completely relaid some 2 years ago as part of the 442M PLN Lodz Regional Tram project. There has been some concern about how the tenders to carry out the work were awarded. During the construction phase the local press published photographs depicting alleged shortcomings in the way the construction work was being carried out.

At the present the CBA, Poland’s anti-corruption bureau, are investigating whether any irregularities occurred during the LRT project. MPK-Lodz chairman, Krzysztof Wasowicz, and MPK-Lodz MD, Jaroslaw Malec, both were members of the supervisory boards of companies who bid successful tenders for the construction of the LRT.

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