London trams to get automatic braking system

tramImage copyright TFL
Image caption The new safety measures, the first in the UK, will automatically apply the brakes if a tram exceeds speed limits

London’s trams are to be fitted with automatic braking systems in response to safety recommendations made following the fatal crash in Croydon.

The decision was among 15 safety recommendations after an investigation into the November 2016 crash.

Seven people died and 51 were injured when a tram travelling at almost four times the speed limit derailed.

The new safety measures, the first in the UK, will automatically apply brakes if a tram exceeds speed limits.

The tram that crashed in Sandilands, Croydon, was carrying about 60 people and was travelling at 43.5mph in a 12mph zone, investigators found.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Nine people were killed when the tram overturned in Croydon in November 2016

Automatic braking will initially be configured to priority high-risk locations but will have the flexibility to be introduced elsewhere on the tram network, the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch said.

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Mark Davis, Transport for London’s general manager of London Trams, said: “We will never forget the tragedy at Sandilands and from day one have focused our attention on preventing this type of incident from ever happening again.

“Awarding the contract for a new automatic braking system is a first for trams in the UK, and not only will it improve safety for customers in London, but we hope it will lead the way for other tram operators across the country.”

Automatic braking will operate alongside the driver protection system, launched in September 2017, which alerts to distraction and fatigue.

It is expected to be fully operational by the end of the year.

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