Light rail and trams

14.01.19

London trams to be fitted with automatic braking system in response to Sandilands recommendations

London’s tram network is to be fitted with an automatic braking system in response to safety recommendations following the fatal Croydon tram crash.

The new safety measures will automatically apply brakes and bring a tram to a controlled stop if it is exceeding the speed limit at designated locations, the first braking system of its kind in the UK.

Seven people died and 51 were injured when a tram came off its tracks in 2016 as it came around a bend near Sandilands four times over the speed limit.

The driver “temporarily lost awareness” as he entered a microsleep, according to investigators, travelling 43.5mph in a 12mph zone.

The new measures will initially be configured to priority high-risk locations but will have the flexibility to be introduced elsewhere on the tram network, according to the RAIB.

Mark Davis, TfL's general manager of London trams, 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.”

The new safety measure responds to one of 15 recommendations made by the RAIB in the wake of the Croydon incident and aimed at the UK tram industry, and today’s announcement means all 15 are now “in progress or complete” according to TfL.

Other recommendations include a permanent speed reduction across the tram network as well as speed monitoring, signage and the installation of a driver protection device.

A new emergency lighting system has also been procured and will be installed over the summer, operating independently of the tram’s battery in the event of an emergency and addressing another of the recommendations.

Image credit - BeyondImages

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