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UK News Exclusive: Croydon tramlink under safety audit at time of fatal crash

15:11  26 october  2020
15:11  26 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

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EXCLUSIVE : Senior managers at Transport for London removed critical comments from an audit of fatigue controls at Tram Operations Limited, documents show. Revealed: Transport Officials Watered Down An Alarming Safety Report Soon After The Croydon Tram Crash That Killed 7 People.

After the deadly tram crash in Croydon earlier this week, industry experts have stressed that it remains one of the While the investigation into the causes of the Croydon crash might highlight a safety gap that needed addressing, Mr Wolmar warned against jumping to conclusions from a single accident.

  Exclusive: Croydon tramlink under safety audit at time of fatal crash © Provided by City AM

The Croydon tram network was undergoing a safety audit at the time of the fatal Sandilands crash in 2016 – a fact not revealed to the chair of TfL’s safety panel at the time.

The former board member, tasked with overseeing investigations into the disaster, described the failure to inform him as “beyond shocking.”

Over the weekend it emerged that TfL had opened an investigation into operational risk at Trams Operations Limited (TOL) – a subsidiary of First Group – three weeks before the accident.

The incident killed seven passengers, the most deadly rail crash of the decade.

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Fellow passengers on the early morning Croydon Tramlink service in South London told how one man was flung through a window. The last of those trapped was taken to hospital at around midday. As rescuers raced against time PM Theresa May CROYDON is the first fatal tram crash for 57 years.

On 9 November 2016, a tram operated by Tramlink derailed and overturned on a sharp bend approaching a junction. Of a total 69 passengers, there were seven fatalities and 62 injured, 19 of whom sustained serious injuries.

A draft copy of the audit, obtained by City A.M., shows that fieldwork for the probe was completed on 15 November, six days after the crash occurred.

The initial findings were due to be released on 22 November, but never emerged.

At the time of the crash, Michael Liebreich was the chair of TfL’s Safety, Sustainability and HR Panel, and led the board’s oversight of the crash until July 2018.

He told City A.M.: “At no point was the fact that TfL were safety-auditing First Group’s tram operation at the time of the crash brought to our attention. The Audit and Assurance Committee of the board were never told about the part-completed audit.

“I find it beyond shocking to discover, nearly four years later, that TfL was undertaking a safety audit of the Croydon Tram at the exact time of the Sandilands crash.”

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A crowdfunding website set up by Croydon Council in the wake of the derailment has so far raised nearly £7,000 to help the families of the victims. "I want to pay tribute to the community of Croydon who have shown incredible strength and resilience during this difficult time , as Croydon Tramlink .

Croydon Council has set up a crowdfunding page to raise funds to "help the victims, families and communities". "I know the community and our council will continue to support, in the weeks and months to come, all those affected", council leader Tony Newman said.

The draft audit first came to light when it was spotted by Tom Kearney, a campaigner for transport safety, in documents released in response to a Mayoral question by Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon.

Private Eye first reported the existence of the draft audit, which concluded that safety issues are “adequately controlled”, the second highest ranking.

The draft report makes no mention of the Sandilands crash, even though it took place while the investigation was ongoing.

Audit “cancelled” after incident

Later emails between TfL staff, seen by City A.M., confirmed that the audit had been “cancelled” in light of the incident.

The incident was the first time since 1959 that people had died in a tram accident in the UK. 62 people were also injured, 19 of whom seriously.

An inquest into the deaths was due to begin last week but has been postponed due to the change in coronavirus precautions.

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The driver of a tram which derailed in Croydon had probably dozed off moments before the fatal crash These include the creation of a dedicated safety body for UK tramways, a better understanding of risk of trams and the introduction of stronger windows and doors on trams.

The driver of a tram that crashed in Croydon and killed seven people will not face prosecution for manslaughter. When it came off the tracks, before dawn and in heavy rain, the tram was travelling at almost four times the line's speed limit. The official report into the crash concluded Mr Dorris, then

A report from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), released in December 2017, found that driver error was the cause of the accident.

It found that the most likely scenario was that the driver had a “microsleep” episode approaching the bend.

A prior audit into TOL, conducted in 2014, found that arrangements for the management of

operator fitness for duty, fatigue, drug and alcohol testing and monitoring, were “well controlled”.

The scope of the suppressed audit showed that investigators were looking into the issue of fatigue management for safety critical workers, in line with the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS).

A subsequent audit into fatigue management across TOL’s operations was carried out in the aftermath of the crash and made a number of suggestions for improvement.

Liebreich added: “This is just the latest in a series of failures by First Group and TfL to release information about fatigue on the Croydon Tram before and after the crash: documents not being provided to the police, documents being released with pages missing, documents RAIB doesn’t seem to have obtained, and so on. It is very troubling indeed.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We were carrying out an audit of ‘Trams Management of Operational Risk’ but this work was not concluded because it was superseded by the urgent investigation into the Sandilands tragedy. The RAIB was informed of the uncompleted audit.”

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The post Exclusive: An ongoing audit of tram risks during Croydon crash not revealed to TfL safety panel appeared first on CityAM.

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