The UK’s first automatic braking system for trams will be introduced this year, following an investigation into the 2016 Croydon tram crash.
London’s tram network will be the first in the UK to adopt the system after the Croydon crash resulted in seven deaths and 61 injuries.
The crash occurred as a tram was travelling 73km/h around a bend with a 20km/h limit while approaching Sandilands Junction in Croydon. It later emerged that the tram driver had “lost consciousness” while in charge of the tram.
Transport for London (TfL) has awarded Engineering Support Group Limited (ESG) the contract to build and install the new system by the end of 2019.
Once completed, the system will automatically bring a moving tram to a controlled stop if it exceeds the speed limit.
The automatic braking system will operate alongside the driver protection system which has been in use since September 2017 and alters drivers to distraction and fatigue
TfL’s general manager of London Trams Mark Davis said: “We will never forget the tragedy at Sandilands and from day one, have focused our attention on preventing this type of incident from ever happening again.
“Awarding the contract for a new automatic braking system is a first for trams in the UK, and not only will it improve safety for customers in London, but we hope it will lead the way for other tram operators across the country.
“We will work to have the new system, which will automatically apply the brakes if a tram is exceeding the speed limit, in full operation by the end of the year.”
News of the automatic braking system being introduced has come after a Rail Accidents Investigation Branch report in December 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.
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.