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Transport for London (TfL) and FirstGroup-owned Tram Operations Limited (TOL) have pleaded guilty to health and safety failings over the 2016 crash which left seven passengers dead.
TfL, TOL and driver Alfred Dorris are accused of health and safety failings in relation to the fatal crash which also left 51 people injured. Dorris has pleaded not guilty.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has brought the prosecution, claiming health and safety failings which led to the fatal crash equate to breaches of the law.
The accident occurred near Sandilands tram stop in Croydon on 9 November 2016. The driver entered a sharp bend with a speed limit of 20km/h at a speed of 73km/h, leading the tram tip over off the tracks and onto its side, smashing windows and sending several passengers through them. It was the first fatal tram accident in the UK since 1959.
It has emerged in recent years that TfL was conducting a tram safety audit at the time of the crash. Since the incident, a safety action plan for trams has been introduced, as well as the UK’s first automatic braking system for trams running over the speed limit.
A detailed investigation into the incident has been continuing during the last five and a half years, and is now the foundation for the ORR’s prosecution.
The ORR alleges that TfL failed to ensure the health and safety of passengers on the Croydon Tramlink network, so far as reasonably possible. The same allegation is made against Tram Operations Limited, which run the tram service on TfL’s behalf.
The accusation against driver Alfred Norris is that he failed as an employee to take reasonable care of passengers while employed at work driving the tram.
ORR's HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser CBE said: “We can confirm today that Transport for London and Tram Operations Limited have pleaded guilty. Driver Alfred Dorris has pleaded not guilty.
“We conducted an extensive, detailed and thorough investigation and took the decision to prosecute all three parties for what we believe to be serious health and safety failings relating to the Croydon Tram derailment on 9 November 2016, which killed seven passengers with many more seriously injured. All our thoughts are with those people.
“The matter has now been sent to the Crown Court for a Pre-trial hearing to case manage and list future hearings.”
TfL chief operating officer Andy Lord said: "The Sandilands tragedy will never be forgotten and our thoughts remain with everyone affected.
"We have worked closely with the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and the ORR since November 2016 to introduce a new safety regime and implement all the recommendations from the organisations across the tram network.
"This has made the network safer for everyone and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure that such a tragedy could never occur again."
The case will continue at Croydon Magistrates’ Court in July.
This article first appeared on www.newcivilengineer.com
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