London

Croydon tram crash: TfL to add warning systems to trams

Derailed tram

Transport for London (TfL) is to introduce speed monitoring devices on its trams to tell drivers if they are going too fast and to apply the brake.

It comes in the wake of the Croydon tram crash in November. The derailment killed seven people and injured more than 50.

TfL said it was seeking interest from industry to help supply the onboard speed monitoring systems.

Union Aslef welcomed the new system but said it was "belated".

An investigation by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB) found the crashed tram had been travelling at 43.5mph in a 12mph zone and found no evidence of any track defects or obstructions.

Last month London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote to the RAIB to raise his concerns following allegations tram drivers have fallen asleep at the controls after the BBC revealed four former tram drivers fell asleep while operating trams in Croydon.

Three trams have been recorded speeding since the Croydon crash.


Analysis: Tom Edwards, BBC London transport correspondent

It's early days but TfL are looking to fundamentally change the capital's tram safety systems.

Previously they had been regarded as buses on tracks. Now they are being moved into the realm of light rail with tighter safety measures.

Safety has been in the spotlight since the Croydon disaster but there have also been a number of reports of tram drivers falling asleep at the controls.

This system would prevent speeding, but it could also intervene and apply the brakes if the driver became incapacitated.


Jonathan Fox, TfL's director of London Rail, said the organisation's "thoughts remain with all those affected by the tragic tram derailment" and it continued to "do all we can to offer our support".

He added: "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 help support us in the development and introduction of that system."

Trevor Sterling, a partner at Moore Blatch solicitors, which has been representing some of the crash survivors, said: "Since we began investigating the tragic Croydon tram disaster, we have repeatedly expressed our view that trams should be regarded more like trains than buses,

"We consider the introduction of automated braking systems, which is welcomed by our clients, to be a very significant part of this necessary change in mindset."

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