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November 9, 2016

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Croydon derailment update: tram was travelling “significantly faster than allowed”

At least seven people have died and 51 have been injured after a tram derailed in Croydon in the early hours of yesterday (9 November) morning.

The driver of the tram,  a 42-year-old man from Beckenham, was arrested and has been bailed until May while investigations continue at the scene and officers work to establish the circumstances of the incident.

s300_sandilands_nov_16

Image of derailed tram at Sandilands Junction Credit: Gov.Uk

The first fatally injured person has been named as 19-year-old Dane Chinnery.

A number of people were freed following the derailment of the two-carriage vehicle near the Sandilands tram stop, in Addiscombe Road, Croydon.

The incident happened just after 6am and investigators from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have been at the scene. The RAIB said the tram had been travelling at a “significantly higher speed” than is allowed.  According to the Office of Rail and Road, trams are not fitted with any safety protection systems to apply brakes automatically if they are going too fast.

A British Transport Police (BTP) investigator said “a number of factors”, including whether the driver had fallen asleep or blacked out at the wheel, were being examined as possible causes.

51 people are said to have been taken to hospitals in Tooting, south London and Croydon University Hospital.

Robin Smith, assistant chief constable of the British Transport Police, said: “A number of people have been taken to hospital with injuries and sadly it looks as though there has been some loss of life.

“It is too early for us to confirm numbers but we are working hard to assess the ongoing incident and we are continuing to focus on recovery efforts.”

Prime Minister Theresa May offered her thoughts and prayers and said the government was “closely in touch with the emergency services and other authorities to ensure that all is being done that is necessary to deal with this terrible incident.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those who have lost their lives today, and everyone involved in this incident.

“I am in close contact with the emergency services and Transport for London, who are working extremely hard under very difficult circumstances to get the situation under control and treat those who have been injured.

“The police have set up a number for friends and family to call for information: 0800 0560154.”

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Barry Cooper
Barry Cooper

Why are trams not fitted with any safety protection systems to apply brakes automatically if they are going too fast.