On January 1 the tramway near the Royal Hotel was operating to allow passengers to travel to the seafront to enjoy the New Year celebrations.
Ann Madeley was walking down to the beach to watch the New Year’s Day dip and witnessed the incident from the nearby steps.
She said: “It was about 11.50am when all of a sudden I heard this almighty bang and we all turned around and saw that the door of the tram had come off and fallen on the tracks.
“Luckily nobody was hurt but it was quite scary.
“It [the door] was laid on the side and after that the tram just closed.”
Central Tramway Company, the family business that operates the lift, has confirmed the incident.
However, director Neil Purshouse explained this was caused by an oversight rather than a technical fault.
He said: “What happened was that the door of the Olympia carriage had been left open and as it was travelling up it got knocked off by the other carriage. There is just a small gap
between the two carriages so when they passed each other the door fell off.”
The sliding doors are usually closed by a member of staff before the carriages set off. Mr Purshouse has announced that an investigation “into how this was possible” is being carried out.
He added: “It was clearly an error and we don’t want it to happen again. It can’t be very pleasant for people to experience that so we apologise. That is not how we operate.
“We carry 500,000 passengers a year and for some people we’re an essential part of getting down the cliff so safety is our number one priority and I can assure people that the tram is safe and that we are looking into this.”
The tram door has already been repaired and external engineers as well as staff are on site to carry out maintenance works.