An animal trainer who suffered two broken legs is recovering in hospital after she became trapped under a three-tonne horse drawn tram.
Firefighters rushed to Middleton Railway, in Moor Road, Hunslet, where the 46-year-old was dragged under the tram by her legs when a horse she was guiding bolted on Monday shortly after 3pm.
The trainer, who works for Tong-based Hanson Carriage Hire, was guiding horses as they pulled the Leeds Horse Car 107, which was being relaunched after an eight-year £45,000 restoration by Leeds Transport Historical Society (LTHS), at the showpiece of the railway’s Festival of Transport.
She was taken to hospital conscious and is being treated at Leeds General Infirmary.
A spokesman for the Office of Rail Regulation said it was investigating the incident with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch to assess what happened and decide if there are grounds for a criminal prosecution.
James Hanson, the owner of Hanson Carriage Hire, described the trainer as “very adept at the job she does”.
He said: “As far as horses go, horses are animals at the end of the day and we train them to the best of our abilities – it’s out of our control, we can only minimise the risk.”
The specially-trained cart horses have been brought back to Hanson’s livery yard while the tram was transported to the National Tramway Museum, in Derbyshire, yesterday.
Jamie Guest, from LTHS, was at the launch, where tram was being pulled by horses for the first time since it went out of service in 1901. He said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the woman in hospital.”
Middleton Railway Trust’s chair Andrew Gill said the railway will open this weekend.
He added: “It was one of those terrible accidents that happens that you can’t foresee with animals.”