Croydon trams set for automatic brakes after tragic crash

Pic: Croydon tram by Peter G Trimming, Flickr

Passengers on Croydon trams should prepare for a new wave improvements after Transport for London (TfL) announced plans for automatic speed monitoring devices on the vehicles.

Installing these devices will allow systems to warn drivers if they are travelling too fast and allow for the tram to automatically apply the brakes, an action which is currently only done manually by drivers.

One of the devices, known as the Driver Vigilance Device (DVD) will also work on driver awareness by requiring the driver to respond to the speed warning within a certain time period before automatically taking control of the brakes.

This comes seven months after the November Croydon tram crash, which resulted in the death of seven people and left 50 others injured.

The tram derailed whilst travelling at three-and-a-half times the speed limit, leading many to question why the vehicle was able to travel so fast for so long.

Since the tragic crash three trams have been recorded speeding, with several drivers admitting to sleeping while at the controls.

Jonathon Fox, TfL’s Director of London Rail, said in a statement:

“Since the tragic derailment we have been working on the development of an in-cab driver alert system for monitoring and managing tram speed.

We are now seeking interest from the wider industry to support us in the development and introduction of that system.”

Should the system be put into place, Croydon trams will be the first networks to include it according to UKTram and, if proven to be successful, it is likely to be introduced on tram networks across the country, something which is likely to reassure those in the community worried about tram safety.

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