Licence to drive a tram

philthetube

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What licence/s are needed to be a tram driver?

does a tram licence exist and if so is a car licence needed as well for road running?

Do operating companies test their own staff of is it done externally.

Are testers tested, and if so by who?
 
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Smokey Joe

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I was once allowed to drive a Blackpool tram while supervised when I was 7 for a short distance. I guess a normal driving license is required for highway code and theory test knowledge though.
 

WatcherZero

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When your on a road section normal highway code applies. You are thus required to be in possession of a valid motorcar driving license and can earn points for failing to observe road signs....
Normally tram companies say you need 1-3 years driving experience and no more than 3 points on your license.
 

Taunton

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There must have been a change at some time then, because traditional tramways did not require a formal licence, and it was wholly up to the operator. Likewise railways. In those former times many tram drivers would not have driving licences, and had no car at home. It was different for trolleybuses, which not only did need a licence, being regarded as a road vehicle, but also had specific requirements laid out in the driving licence application form that everyone got, including myself in what was probably the last year there were any trolleybuses. I still remember "being able to negotiate bends without dewiring".
 

507 001

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This is something I’ve never been able to get a clear answer on.

Certainly Metrolink require you to have a valid driving license for 3 years, but it’s not clear if that’s because we are occasionally expected to drive company vehicles. There’s a grey area as to whether trams do actually have to conform to road signs. We do obviously try to observe things like keep clears and box junctions, but typically any relevant road signs would be duplicated with a tramway style sign (not that I can actually think of any on Metrolink metals other than speed limit signs!).

But then I know Metrolink had to have the law regarding no entry signs changed to allow an ‘except trams’ sign.

We are also told to follow the Highway Code in the instance of a failed street running signal.

There is no such thing as a tram driving license however. The individual operating companies are expected to manage competency internally. There is nothing on my driving license to prove that I can drive, or instruct on, an LRV.
 

WatcherZero

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Found it:

ROAD TRAFFIC Highway Act 1835 Tramcars are carriages for the purposes of section 78 of this Act and so must keep to the left, or near side, of any highway in which their rails are laid. But this requirement may be overridden by appropriate authority within a TWAO (for example, where a single-line of tramway is authorised to be operated in both directions, notwithstanding that the track is located in the centre or to one side of the highway). Such authority also generally allows for the reversal of tramcars at suitable points, where this is an inherent feature of their operation. ‘wrong-line’ running may be employed in emergencies, although it would obviously be advisable to liaise with the police authority if this were to be other than in isolated instances. Special care and diligence must be exercised in the case of tramcar movements that are contrary to left-hand running.

Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 Tramcars are not public passenger vehicles so that in general this Act does not apply to them, but some of its provisions have been applied by local legislation and the Secretary of State has power (so far not exercised) to apply certain provisions to regulate the conduct of inspectors, drivers and conductors, the conduct of passengers, the carriage of luggage and goods and the safe custody and redelivery of lost property.

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (“RTRA”) This Act generally applies to tramcars, but by virtue of the Tramcars and Trolley Vehicles (Modification of Enactments) Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/1217) (“the Modification Regulations”), they are exempted from the following provisions of RTRA: - Traffic regulation orders (section 1); - Equivalent orders within Greater London (section 6); - Experimental traffic orders (section 9); and - Orders relating to one-way traffic on trunk roads (section 18). The Modification Regulations also exempt tramcars from the effect of orders or notices imposing temporary prohibitions or restrictions on certain roads (section 14 of RTRA). Under article 40(5) of the model clauses referred to above, tramcars are to be regarded as public service vehicles for the purposes of the duty imposed on local authorities by section 122(2)(c) of RTRA to facilitate the passage of public service vehicles and for securing the safety and convenience of their users.

Road Traffic Act 1988 (“RTA”) This Act applies generally to tramcars, but the following provisions of the Act do not apply by virtue of the Modification Regulations: Page 94 of 101 Tramway Principles & Guidance - Using a vehicle in a dangerous condition or for a dangerous purpose (section 40A); - Inspection of public passenger vehicles and goods vehicles (section 68); - Prohibition of unfit vehicles (sections 69 to 73); - Vehicles not to be sold in unroadworthy condition or as altered so as to be unroadworthy (section 75); - Fitting and supply of defective or unsuitable vehicle parts (section 76); - Testing condition of used vehicles at sale rooms or other premises (section 77); - Weighing of motor vehicles (sections 78 and 79); - Offences to do with reflectors and tail lamps (section 83); - Method of calculating weight of motor vehicles and trailers (section 190); and - Interpretation of statutory references to carriages (section 191). The Modification Regulations also extend section 87 of RTA so as to make it necessary for the driver of a tramcar to possess a driving licence that authorises him or her to drive a motor vehicle in category B, within the meaning of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (S.I.1999/2864), with a saving for persons who were already driving tramcars during the year prior to 1 July 1992. The Modification Regulations also exempt tramcars from the following subsidiary legislation made under the RTA: - Motor Vehicles (Test) Regulations 1981 (S.I.1981/1694), which require the construction and condition of motor vehicles to be examined and for a test certificate to be issued on compliance; - Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (S.I.1986/1078), which impose general requirements governing the use of motor vehicles, their condition and equipment and the conditions under which they may be used; and - Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 (S.I.1989/1786), which impose requirements as to the lighting of motor vehicles.

Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 This Act generally applies to tramcars, but power is conferred on the Secretary of State to disapply certain of its provisions (requiring warning of prosecution, etc., and provisions concerning driving licences), which provisions have so far not been exercised. Transport and Works Act 1992 (TWA) Part II of this Act makes it a criminal offence for inspectors, drivers and conductors of tramcars and their supervisors to be unfit to carry out their duties through drink or drugs or after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in the person’s breath, blood or urine exceeds an amount prescribed by the Act. There are detailed supplementary provisions, most of which are analogous to the equivalent provisions for motor vehicles contained in sections 4 to 11 of RTA. Page 95 of 101 Tramway Principles & Guidance TRAFFIC SIGNS, SIGNALS AND BARRIERS TWA This Act enables a tramway operator to place or permit the placing of crossing signs and barriers on or near a private road or path near a tramway crossing. The Secretary of State may give directions to the tramway operator as to the placing of such signs or barriers (sections 52 to 54 of TWA). The nature of the signs and barriers are prescribed in the Private Crossings (Signs and Barriers) Regulations 1996 (S.I.1996/1786). Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (S.I.2016/362) These Regulations and Directions are made under RTRA and RTA.
This bit basically means the Secretary of State can exempt tramcars of provisions if he chooses to do so long as the provisions have not been used (i.e. you cant exempt trams from the law if it that bit of the law has already been enforced on other tram drivers)

RSP2 Revision Working Document (uktram.com)
 

Egg Centric

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You are thus required to be in possession of a valid motorcar driving license and can earn points for failing to observe road signs....

What signs actually apply to trams in practice? I've only been able to come up with one (last bullet point)

  • Speed limits (or minimum speed limits) cannot realistically apply
  • Trams have their own traffic signals
  • Prohibitions on types of movement (e.g. no left turn) make zero sense
  • Parking ones make barely more sense
  • Weight restrictions / No explosives etc also make no sense
  • Warnings about hedgehog migrations and such things mean nothing
  • Sounding horn (or prohibition of same) signs might work except you never actually see them.
  • A give way, stop sign, or priority sign or their equivalents on zebra crossings could actually make sense I suppose
 

notadriver

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What signs actually apply to trams in practice? I've only been able to come up with one (last bullet point)

  • Speed limits (or minimum speed limits) cannot realistically apply
  • Trams have their own traffic signals
  • Prohibitions on types of movement (e.g. no left turn) make zero sense
  • Parking ones make barely more sense
  • Weight restrictions / No explosives etc also make no sense
  • Warnings about hedgehog migrations and such things mean nothing
  • Sounding horn (or prohibition of same) signs might work except you never actually see them.
  • A give way, stop sign, or priority sign or their equivalents on zebra crossings could actually make sense I suppose

Indeed - where street running exists i thought isn’t the street furniture optimised for tram running. Zebra crossings and pelican crossings are usually removed. Box junctions simply don’t exist. But trams do have indicators and brake lights. Perhaps if these don’t work or indicators not used - could be an RTA.

Thinking about trams vs buses, tram drivers in the UK don’t take fares. There seems to be more emphasis on keeping to the timetable helped by priority traffic lights and so on. Bus drivers when learning are taught to let less mobile passengers to sit down first, pull away gently and at demonstrate a very sedate style of driving.
 

507 001

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What signs actually apply to trams in practice? I've only been able to come up with one (last bullet point)

  • Speed limits (or minimum speed limits) cannot realistically apply
  • Trams have their own traffic signals
  • Prohibitions on types of movement (e.g. no left turn) make zero sense
  • Parking ones make barely more sense
  • Weight restrictions / No explosives etc also make no sense
  • Warnings about hedgehog migrations and such things mean nothing
  • Sounding horn (or prohibition of same) signs might work except you never actually see them.
  • A give way, stop sign, or priority sign or their equivalents on zebra crossings could actually make sense I suppose

Those that are relevant would be duplicated by a tramway diamond style sign anyway.

Indeed - where street running exists i thought isn’t the street furniture optimised for tram running. Zebra crossings and pelican crossings are usually removed. Box junctions simply don’t exist. But trams do have indicators and brake lights. Perhaps if these don’t work or indicators not used - could be an RTA.

Thinking about trams vs buses, tram drivers in the UK don’t take fares. There seems to be more emphasis on keeping to the timetable helped by priority traffic lights and so on. Bus drivers when learning are taught to let less mobile passengers to sit down first, pull away gently and at demonstrate a very sedate style of driving.

Box junctions certainly do exist, and are common. As are keep clear markings.

Zebra crossings are a no-no, but pelican crossings are fine and will usually have a tram signal attached to them. Here’s one of two on Ashton New Road in Manchester. The other is about 500 metres away in the distance

C08283AC-E06E-4DF1-9ED5-63207E08FCF0.jpeg
 

Western 52

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Burry Port
There must have been a change at some time then, because traditional tramways did not require a formal licence, and it was wholly up to the operator. Likewise railways. In those former times many tram drivers would not have driving licences, and had no car at home. It was different for trolleybuses, which not only did need a licence, being regarded as a road vehicle, but also had specific requirements laid out in the driving licence application form that everyone got, including myself in what was probably the last year there were any trolleybuses. I still remember "being able to negotiate bends without dewiring".
In 1982 when I took my car driving test, the form used by the examiner still had an entry for being able to turn left without dewiring. This was in Cardiff, more than a decade after trolley buses had ended there.
 

WatcherZero

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Speed limit signs are duplicated in diamonds yes, where there isnt one present the round sign applies however, it also requires special permission from the transport secretary for a tram to have a higher speed limit than other traffic on a road, it should be the same or less.
Trams are specifically exempted in the 1984 law from one way signs as well as local traffic regulations (e.g. limits on weight for local roads (for example limiting weight of vehicles through a village), bus corridors, non-standard road signs, parking restrictions, roads being closed between certain hours of the day, etc..).
The blue vehicle prescription signs are highway signs which apply to trams as well (though you could argue their path is fixed they are still required to obey the signs)
The tram proceed and points indicator signs are actually road signs.
Markings on the road apply to trams as mentioned, boxes, stopping points, etc....
Animal warning signs do apply, I believe there is (or used to be) deer warning ones on the tramway in London on an offroad section.
 

507 001

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Speed limit signs are duplicated in diamonds yes, where there isnt one present the round sign applies however, it also requires special permission from the transport secretary for a tram to have a higher speed limit than other traffic on a road, it should be the same or less.
Trams are specifically exempted in the 1984 law from one way signs as well as local traffic regulations (e.g. limits on weight for local roads (for example limiting weight of vehicles through a village), bus corridors, non-standard road signs, parking restrictions, roads being closed between certain hours of the day, etc..).
The blue vehicle prescription signs are highway signs which apply to trams as well (though you could argue their path is fixed they are still required to obey the signs)
The tram proceed and points indicator signs are actually road signs.
Markings on the road apply to trams as mentioned, boxes, stopping points, etc....
Animal warning signs do apply, I believe there is (or used to be) deer warning ones on the tramway in London on an offroad section.

There is nowhere on Metrolink where the road speed limit signs are not duplicated by a diamond board. It isn’t permitted by Metrolink.
 

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