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Croydon tram damaged in riot

Croydon’s tram line fully reopened on 15 August after engineers completed repairs to damage during the rioting earlier this month.

Inspection and testing carried out

They replaced 60m of overhead cabling and repaired “minor damage” to 10m of tracks, following a furniture store fire just seven days earlier.

Fears that the tracks were seriously damaged by the blaze at the adjacent Reeves store were allayed when engineers inspected the damage and found that the tracks did not need to be taken up. Repairs involved clearing rubble, checking for damage and testing tracks for safety.

A Transport for London spokesman said the tracks had appeared to be on fire at the time of the riots, but in fact it was the road sealing that was burning. This burning “did not cause the damage we feared”, he said.

Engineers’ inspection of the tram line was delayed by police work at the adjacent crime scene, and the subsequent demolition of the burned out furniture store.

Call for sprinklers in building design

Leading independent fire safety expert Fathi Tarada told NCE that the fire could have been “stopped at source” if sprinklers had been designed into the building. Tarada said sprinklers could have prevented the fire growing as large as it did, and said planners should examine the issue.

London mayor Boris Johnson announced a £50M regeneration fund to help restore and improve London town centres and high streets damaged by the riots, as well as a new £20M regeneration fund for Tottenham and Croydon, some of which will go toward transport infrastructure.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimated that the cost of insured losses and damage suffered by individuals and business victims of the riots would be well over £100M.

“Most commercial insurance policies will cover businesses for damage to their premises, including the interruption to their business as a result,” said ABI director of general insurance and health Nick Starling.

Work halted in Birmingham

Elsewhere, contractor Amey temporarily halted work on some of its projects for Birmingham City Council’s highways private finance initiative (PFI) during the riots, fearing for the safety of its workers and the public.

Thames Water reported a drop in water pressure in Croydon the morning after the riot there, due to “large amounts of water being used by the fire brigade”during the disturbance.

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