The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has announced that an investigation into a fatal incident involving a tram near Sandilands Junction in Croydon, southwest London in 2016 is continuing.
At around 6.10am on Wednesday 9 November 2016, the London Tramlink service tram overturned on a bend – as a result, seven people suffered fatal injuries and a further 51 people were taken to hospital.
Details of the incident were published in two interim reports dated 16 November 2016 and 20 February 2017.
The RAIB says that, while the basic explanation of events that day remains as described in the second interim report, investigators have gathered and analysed considerably more evidence since it was published in February, which has allowed the RAIB to formulate draft recommendations.
In recent weeks, the RAIB says it has discussed the draft safety recommendations and its justifications for making them with the families of the people who died in the accident, as well as with the organisations involved and with the safety authority (Office of Rail and Road).
The RAIB has also 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. Correspondence formally confirms the areas that a number of the RAIB’s key recommendations are expected to cover.
“We did this so they can start to consider what action to take in response, prior to the publication of our final report,” said the RAIB in a statement.
“The letter has been copied to other UK tram operators and the safety authority.”
Key recommendation areas addressed to UK tram operators are likely to include provision of active tram protection to prevent serious accidents due to excessive speed at high-risk locations – and research into active means of detecting the attention state of drivers and intervening in the event of inattention.
Other recommendations are likely to be improved containment of passengers by tram windows and doors – and the setting up of an industry body to facilitate more effective cooperation between UK tramway owners and operators on matters related to safety performance and the development of common standards.
In addition, the RAIB’s investigation into how Tram Operations Ltd manages fatigue risk may result in a recommendation.
“Our final report will also highlight the importance of ensuring the availability of in-tram CCTV systems and any actions already taken to address the issue,” added the RAIB. “If necessary, the RAIB will also make a recommendation for further improvement in this area.”
The RAIB said that the list was not exhaustive, but includes some of the important safety issues that are likely to take time to implement, making early consideration vital.
“Other areas within the scope of our investigation – such as consideration of underlying safety management and regulatory factors – may also give rise to recommendations.
“We are encouraged to learn that some tramway organisations have already started work in a number of these areas. We are now writing the final report.
“Once it is complete, it will be subject to formal, written consultation with those involved, prior to publication.
“We are aiming to publish the report in under a year from the date of the accident. However, the publication date remains subject to a number of factors, some of which are outside our direct control.
“Our investigation is independent of any investigation by the tramway industry, the British Transport Police or by the Office of Rail and Road,” the RAIB added.
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