Manchester Metrolink set for safety improvements across all of its fleet

Manchester Metrolink continues with safety enhancements by implementing overspeed protection technology

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is improving the safety measures of their rolling stock as it is set to deliver its tram safety improvement programme.

The tram safety improvement programme was created after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) recommended, in light of the Sandilands accident, that all light rail networks across the country should implement programmes which minimised the risk of over-speeding or inattentive driving.

In light of this, Metrolink’s fleet of 147 trams will be equipped with new systems that use GPS and other information to determine the location and speed of the tram.

Driver Vigilance Devices (DVD) and Tram Overspeed Protection Systems (TOPS) work by alerting the driver, and if there is no response, brakes will be applied automatically. To ensure drivers remain alert, an upgrade will be applied to the traction brake system and if no movement is detected input will be requested from the driver.

The protection system will operate independently of other tram monitoring systems.

TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “The safety of our customers and staff is paramount, which is why we have robust safety and assurance practices built into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the network.

“Metrolink has an exemplary safety record, but following the tragedy in Croydon – and through the subsequent RAIB recommendations – we have taken steps to enhance this even further and have played an industry-leading role by participating in trials of innovative technology to monitor driver attention and vehicle over-speeding.

Since the Sandilands accident, Metrolink has worked to progress the recommendations including exploring new technological advancements and introduced other measures including as lower speed limits in key areas, additional hazard signage, an improved driver simulator used for training, enhanced medical standards and proactive speed monitoring.

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