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July 27, 2023

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Transport for London fined £10m for health and safety failings in Croydon tram disaster

Transport for London (TfL) has been fined £10 million and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) fined £4 million for health and safety failings leading to the Croydon tram disaster.

The court had heard tram was going three times the 20kph speed limit when it derailed on a sharp corner at Sandilands in the morning of November 9, 2016.

Croydon Tram CrashSeven passengers were killed and 21 more suffered serious injuries when the tram carrying 69 people derailed near the Sandilands stop.

Driver Alfred Dorris, 49, from Beckenham, south-east London, was cleared of failing in his duty after claiming he had become disorientated and thought he was going in the other direction.

He blamed the crash on external factors including the poor lighting and signage on the approach through the Sandilands tunnel complex.

“This was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen” 

TfL and TOL have accepted failing in their health and safety duties and were sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday (27 July).

Both companies had already been ordered to each pay £234,404 in costs to the prosecuting authority, the Office of Rail and Road, and a victim surcharge of £170.

Before sentencing, Judge Mr Justice Fraser told the court: “This was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen, quite literally.”

There was a failure to heed warnings about the risk of drivers becoming disorientated in the Sandiland tunnel network on the approach to the curve and a report of a “near miss” just days before the crash was “ignored”, he said.

The “complacency” around the inadequate lighting and lack of visual cues in the tunnel was “disturbing”, the judge said.

Prosecutor Jonathan Ashley-Norman said there were “missed opportunities” over the years to take a closer look at the Sandilands curve but action was not taken.

There was “over-reliance on fallible humans” and tram drivers were “let down” by their employer TOL, and by TfL, the court was told.

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