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Lord Fyfe of Fairfield: I am very interested in this amendment. The definition of a tramway is somewhat obscure. The best definition that I can find is under Section 67 of the Transport and Works Act 1992. It states that,
Lord Dixon-Smith: Will the Minister bat slightly wider than the business of investigating railway accidents by saying who is responsible for investigating accidents on tramways, if they are not to be included in the Bill? If he could do so, I am sure that it would relieve the need for further questions at later stages. It is all very well to say that such accidents would be subject to a normal police investigation or one by the body responsible for creating the tram service in question, but there is a similarity between
The Earl of Mar and Kellie: The principal difference between a railway and a tramway is how the driver acts. On a railway, drivers rely largely on signals determined by others, and on a tramway must drive on line of sight, as does the driver of a car or lorry.
Baroness Scott of Needham Market: On reading a report of proceedings on this Bill in another place, I was struck by the debate on whether we should consider having a transport authority to look at transport safety in general. This is the second debate on an amendment in which it has become very clear that the linesno pun intendedbetween railway safety and other aspects of safety are not clear. Great Heck has shown how an aspect that is relatively simple in railway terms is much more complicated in road terms. Equally, that applies to the difference between roads and trams. Will the Minister reflect on the issue of transport safety rather than just rail safety?
A number of aspects of the Bill could usefully be discussed in the context of including "and guided busways". Such systems are planned for Cambridge and Luton, and one already operates in Ipswich. The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, wants to build one in Oxford. Basically, guided busways are the same as trams. You can regulate and investigate them as much or as little as you like. They are not very different from railways. But the Bill will demonstrate the difference between how we tend to treat roads and our treatment of railways. I shall not pre-empt my comments on later amendments. Tramways are somewhere in between. A definition would be very useful.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We have had at least three definitions of tramways. There is one in the Bill, at Clause 1(1), which is a definition by reference to Section 67 of the Transport and Works Act 1992. I shall not go further than that. I do not blame the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, for being confused about it. I was, because it was not immediately evident to me that Clause 7(2) means that, for the purposes of Clause 7(1)(a),
There is a distinction between tramways that run on the public roads, where there are no lessons to be learnt for road safety and where the police will investigate, and tramways that run off the public roadthey are more like a railwaywhere there could be railway implications and where the RAIB should be responsible. The distinction between the two could be very difficult. A tramway could run between a public road and a railway, for example. I believe that some do. That is not something that one would seek to define in any legislation.
All that we can provide, which is what we are providing in the Bill, is that there should be flexibility for the chief inspector of the rail accident investigation branch. If there are no rail implications, she does not have to carry out an investigation. However, if there are rail applications under Clause 7(1)(a), (b) or (c), she can do so. If the noble Viscount is unhappy about thatI confess that I am a little unhappy about it, because I do not see all the linksI suggest that he and I and anyone else who wants to can talk about it before Report.
Viscount Astor: I am grateful for the Minister's response. He has illuminated the matter a little, but not that much. If I understood what he said, tramways will not come under the provision unless there is some rail implication. However, that takes one back to Clause 1(1), in which,
There was something that I did not understand from the Minister's answer. Under the current rules, should there be a tramway incidentfor example, if a tram crashes not into a car but another tramwho is currently responsible? Does the Minister know? Is it
Viscount Astor: That is helpful. As I understand it then, Her Majesty's Rail Inspectorate is responsible for tramway incidents or accidents, as it were. Therefore, we will want to ensure that its successor body, the rail accident investigation branch, has similar responsibility. I think that we will have to look at the definition of tramway, because a tramway can be a permanent rail system, but I have seen systems that can involve rails temporarily put down on the top of roads so that temporary trams can operate.
Viscount Astor: I take the Minister's point that the Bill should not necessarily define what is and is not a tramway, but it may be something that the Government need to look at by regulations. Indeed, they may be able to give the power to the rail accident investigation branch to decide what is a tramway and what is not. The fundamental principle is something that runs on rails, I would have thought. However, I am grateful for the opportunity to have this brief debate. It seems that there is some confusion, but we are all on the same side and it needs to be cleared up. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.