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Croydon tram crash prompts safety action plan

Croydon mps

A tram safety “action plan” is to be rolled out following the fatal Croydon tram crash in November 2016, which killed seven people and injured 61.

Members of the Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for London (TfL) and others will meet with the Office of Rail & Road (ORR) today (22 January) to decide how to implement safety recommendations from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch’s final report into the crash.

On 9 November 2016 a tram, travelling between Wimbledon and New Addington, overturned on a bend as it approached Sandilands Junction in Croydon. Excessive speed was found to have been the main cause of the crash as the tram was travelling 73km/h around a bend with a 20km/h limit.

Source: Rail Accident Investigation Branch

Croydon tram crash reconstruction

The derailment killed seven people and injured 61 more. It later emerged that the tram driver had “lost consciousness” while in charge of the tram, possibly the result of microsleep.

Published in December, the RAIB report said that risks of trams overturning on curves were not properly understood, so there were insufficient safety measures in place at the time of the derailment.

“The safety of passengers and staff on trams is the number one concern of the ORR and everyone else in the industry,” said ORR chief inspector for railways Ian Prosser.

“This meeting will bring together all of the organisations involved in improving tram safety to agree an action plan.”

Many passengers fell through windows and doors as the tram fell. The RAIB found no evidence of track defects at the time of the crash, but it made 15 recommendations to improve safety on UK tram networks including a new tram safety body and installing automatic braking systems in trams.

A DfT spokesperson said: “This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and with everyone affected. We have been carefully studying the recommendations in the RAIB report, many of which have been implemented already by the industry.

“The safety summit provides an important opportunity to meet together with industry leaders to ensure we implement the lasting changes required, so a tragedy like this never happens again.”

RAIB key recommendations

  • Educate tram operators on risks of derailment on bends.
  • Improve door and window strengths in trams.
  • Create a dedicated tram safety body.
  • Add safety features such as automatic braking and technology to help drivers stay alert.
  • Encourage a culture where workers can report their own mistakes.

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