Tram Accident

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA

Background: A tram used to transport physically challenged patrons up Morgue Road to the prison on Alcatraz Island struck a protruding pipe on a wall adjacent to its path of travel. The roof and super-structure of the tram trailer were damaged, and struck passengers on the tram. Subsequent to the accident, it was alleged that the design of the trailers was faulty.

What We Did: In reconstructing the accident, a 1/8-scale model of the trailer was created, complete with four-wheel steer capability, for purposes of visualization to Jury members. The model and a similar scale roadway model clearly demonstrated that the mechanics of the accident sequence involved the tram driver steering the tram into a gutter adjacent to the wall, and showed that there was no fault in the design of the trailers.

Damaged trolley and trailer.
Completed trailer model.
Steering mechanism on model.