New safety measures for Croydon’s trams likely

The safety report is expect to be published this autumn Pic:  Peter G Trimming – Flickr

The team investigating the Croydon tram crash is expected to call for new measures to stop trams from speeding and prevent drivers from falling asleep at the controls.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is investigating last November’s accident that left seven people dead and 51 injured.

RAIB said: “In recent weeks, we have discussed the draft safety recommendations, and our justifications for making them, with the families of the people who died in the accident, with the organisations involved and with the safety authority, the Office of Rail and Road.”

One of the most significant provisions will be for “active tram protection to prevent serious accidents due to excessive speed at high risk locations”.

An accident report found the tram in last year’s crash was travelling at 46mph in a 13mph zone as it entered a sharp bend at Sandilands Junction.

RAIB is also expected to research how to check tram driver vigilance after several drivers were caught sleeping at the controls.

London Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said an in-cab CCTV system to monitor driver alertness is being trialled and is likely to be installed in every tram by autumn.

“Any sign of driver distraction or fatigue will result in the driver being alerted immediately. Work on an alert system for monitoring and managing tram speed is underway,” Brown added.

According to RAIB, Alfred Dorris, the driver in November’s accident, had “lost awareness” before the crash. Dorris failed to pull the emergency braking before the tram, carrying around 70 passengers, derailed, overturned and slid 25 metres.

The 43-year-old was arrested at the scene on suspicion of manslaughter and has been bailed until September.

The RAIB said it is in the process of writing its final report and it is hoped that the safety recommendations will be published under a year from the date of the November 9 accident.

Brown said a number of additional safety measures have already been implemented since the derailment “including additional speed restrictions, enhanced speed monitoring, new signage for drivers and an upgrade of the CCTV recording system”.

RAIB said it has “recently written to Transport for London which owns the tramway, Tram Operations Limited which operates the tramway and UKTram which is the trade organisation covering all UK tram operators, to formally confirm the areas that a number of our key recommendations are expected to cover”.

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