Croydon Tram Crash

Rogmi

Member
Joined
7 Nov 2013
Messages
50
Regarding the comments about a check rail, I don't think that having one or not would make any difference at that speed. The only thing I can think of to prevent a derailment, or at least prevent a tram overturning there would be to have a physical barrier along the outer curve of the track that followed the track round. E.g. a "check wall" - a high sheet of smooth thick metal wall that would "guide" the tram around to the straight section. Even if the tram did derail, there would be very little leeway and the tram body would have no option but to follow the wall.

That's the theory. Whether it would work in practice is another matter and would partly depend on the strength of the body framework, especially at the cab corner that would first contact the wall.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Tim R-T-C

Established Member
Joined
23 May 2011
Messages
2,140
Reports that the CCTV was not working. It never does......when you need to see it.
Would the CCTV have shown the driver or is it forward looking?

Forward looking won't really show anything new anyway.

So a week to not really tells us anything we didn't already know. I'd have liked to have seen a bit more detail as to what the driver's actions were, which must surely by now be clear from the download.
They have said that the brakes were applied to the effect of -7mph from the top speed of 50mph. This is the most useful thing to find out. Shows that there was some control at one point before the crash and - the only relevant information then is when this application occured - if it was right before the crash, or at the start of the normal braking location.

The former would fit with the idea of the driver blacking out/falling asleep/losing locational awareness and trying to slow the tram at the last second. The latter would be more inconclusive.
 

jon0844

Veteran Member
Joined
1 Feb 2009
Messages
24,446
Location
UK
Aslef is effectively saying the trams aren't safe, so will they be advising drivers to refuse to work them until made safe?

Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
 

neonison

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2007
Messages
229
Location
Standedge, One hill, four tunnels
Yes, it's called route knowledge.



Placement of the speed board is absolutely, 100% irrelevant.

There are numerous boards on Metrolink that are out of your normal line of sight. We still know they're there.

Just like we'd still know there is a nigh on 90 degree bend ahead.

It's called route knowledge.

Route knowledge is essential. Teams don't stop like cars. They don't stop like busses either. They're actually pretty slow to stop so you do need to know braking points and speed restrictions like the back of your hand.
And therein lies the dichotomy.

In one breath we are told by those on this forum and those in the railway press that trams are driven 'line-of-sight' which means - and please correct me if I am wrong - that these are driven only as quickly as the driver can slow or stop to avoid a collision or passing a stop signal.
In the next we are told that it's route knowledge that is all important as a tram simply cannot brake sufficiently if the driver had to rely on his/her observations alone.

To me these are not compatible.

.
 

Shaw S Hunter

Established Member
Joined
21 Apr 2016
Messages
2,231
Location
Sunny South Lancs
Aslef is effectively saying the trams aren't safe, so will they be advising drivers to refuse to work them until made safe?
That would rather depend on whether Tramlink drivers are actually members of ASLE&F. That union making public pronouncements on this issue does not necessarily mean they have membership there. I daresay somone will be along shortly to confirm the reality.
 

neonison

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2007
Messages
229
Location
Standedge, One hill, four tunnels
The broken CCTV speaks volumes about the care and attention First give to safety
Maybe would you want your train/tram delayed because the FFCCTV wasn't working? Is it safety critical? I don't know.

I was once stranded in the Gulf states for the lack of a backup rear-facing radar on a 27-seater plane with a sub 20-minute flight on a perfectly clear afternoon. I know aviation sets high standards... I got back to Blighty three days late. I know how I felt about safety-critical systems at that very moment.
 

jon0844

Veteran Member
Joined
1 Feb 2009
Messages
24,446
Location
UK
Maybe would you want your train/tram delayed because the FFCCTV wasn't working? Is it safety critical? I don't know.

I was once stranded in the Gulf states for the lack of a backup rear-facing radar on a 27-seater plane with a sub 20-minute flight on a perfectly clear afternoon. I know aviation sets high standards... I got back to Blighty three days late. I know how I felt about safety-critical systems at that very moment.
Sometimes the answer is, yes, you'd cancel the service. That way there's no temptation to let standards slip, as we see often with some bus operators putting out buses with faults (brakes, door sensors etc) as a blind eye is turned.

That's when you have an accident and find that something wasn't working.

The three day delay you experienced, and have presumably got over (and maybe even got compensated for) could save a plane going down another day.
 
Last edited:

Antman

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
6,597
Location
London
And therein lies the dichotomy.

In one breath we are told by those on this forum and those in the railway press that trams are driven 'line-of-sight' which means - and please correct me if I am wrong - that these are driven only as quickly as the driver can slow or stop to avoid a collision or passing a stop signal.
In the next we are told that it's route knowledge that is all important as a tram simply cannot brake sufficiently if the driver had to rely on his/her observations alone.

To me these are not compatible.

.
I'm not sure I see the problem?

Trams are driven on line of sight and are subject to a speed limit.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The broken CCTV speaks volumes about the care and attention First give to safety
Don't let your feelings about First get in the way eh? Your name seems somewhat inappropriate:oops:!
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
9,251
That would rather depend on whether Tramlink drivers are actually members of ASLE&F. That union making public pronouncements on this issue does not necessarily mean they have membership there. I daresay somone will be along shortly to confirm the reality.
23rd May 2016 from Aslef : '100% of Croydon Tramlink drivers vote for strike action on a 82% turnout' - I found this by putting 'Croydon Tramlink ASLEF' into the search engine, on first page. I can't tell you how many of the drivers belong to ASLEF, or, perhaps more relevantly, how many don't. but it certainly provides very interesting background information on the state of recent employee/employer relations in the organisation.
 
Last edited:

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
18,082
Location
Nottingham
That is pretty damning. Basically by the time you reached the speed restriction board advertising the need to drop speed dramatically, there would be no time to do so. Is that normal practice on light rail systems and on the railways? Is the driver just expected to remember where all the speed restrictions are and where exactly to start braking?
As it is a line of sight system, the tram should be going a speed from which they could stop short of any obstruction that comes into sight, using only the service brake. That would include a stationary tram or something like a pedestrian wearing dark clothing. This is a fundamental feature of tramways and if the permitted speeds aren't set low enough for this to happen then there is a serious safety problem somewhere. It is basically the same as a road but different from a heavy railway, where the train can't stop within the distance the driver can see so advance warning is provided for red signals and speed restrictions.

If the tram is able to stop at an obstruction then it must also be possible to brake for a speed restriction where the speed is lower but still more than zero. If the sign is not visible far enough out then it needs moving or vegetation cutting back or whatever is necessary to make it visible, or if that isn't possible another sign should be provided to reduce the approach speed to the original sign.

Route knowledge reinforces safety, for example by making the drivers aware of known hazards such as side entrances where vehicles may emerge suddenly. But on a tramway it can't replace the need to drive within the safe speed to stop on sight. To paraphrase a road safety poster "you may know the road like the back of your hand but you don't know what's round the next bend".
 

Busaholic

Established Member
Joined
7 Jun 2014
Messages
9,251
Oh well, if somebody said on Facebook that their tram took the bend at 40mph I guess it must be true?:oops:
I really do suggest a man of your mature years once they're in a hole should stop digging. In addition to the Facebook report an email was sent to TfL by another passenger on the same tram on 31st October and replied to on 2nd November, and has been published on the BBC London website. Since then TfL have stated that the driver was not the same man as the driver on the tram that crashed, so they at least are not burying their heads in the sand.

As regards the crash, everyone accepts it was caused by excessive speed: it is the reason for the excessive speed that has to be established. It is not up to anyone here to point the blame, but it's also not up to anyone here to absolve TfL or Firstgroup from it, however indirectly. The full RAIB report will look into the 'wider context', and, of course, there may well be a criminal trial as well.

Looking at the wider picture, the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' ship sank on its cross-channel journey in 1987 with a loss of life approaching 200, both passengers and crew, as a result of catastrophic errors by a few of the crew. Over the period after the sinking a lot came out about both 'crew culture' and 'management culture' which caused this terrible event, corner-cutting by the crew with blind eyes turned by management in order to fit as many journeys in as possible against the competition and profits to be enhanced, with every effort made to avoid safety expenditure which could have stopped this appalling accident from happening. The whole idea of corporate manslaughter arose from this tragedy, but Townsend Thoresen (by then a part of P&O) got subsumed into the main fleet, nobody was convicted of manslaughter for the simple reason that no-one was ever charged, and the damning report into the whole sordid affair gathers dust with all the others. Personally, being of a sceptical disposition, I have my doubts whether TT would ever have been charged even if corporate manslaughter charges had been available. I do know, working in Kent at the time, how devastated the coastal Kentish communities around Dover, Thanet and Shepway were with so many of the dead crew living in those areas, but at least now when deaths occur on public transport there is a better chance of a full investigation looking beyond a tabloid headline.
 

kdoganorak

Member
Joined
5 Jan 2015
Messages
31
Yes, it's called route knowledge.



Placement of the speed board is absolutely, 100% irrelevant.
Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most speed limit changes on heavy rail have a warning sign several hundred yards before the start of the new, lower limit, along with an AWS magnet? (apologies for dodgy terminology)
 

neonison

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2007
Messages
229
Location
Standedge, One hill, four tunnels
As it is a line of sight system, the tram should be going a speed from which they could stop short of any obstruction that comes into sight, using only the service brake. That would include a stationary tram or something like a pedestrian wearing dark clothing. This is a fundamental feature of tramways and if the permitted speeds aren't set low enough for this to happen then there is a serious safety problem somewhere. It is basically the same as a road but different from a heavy railway, where the train can't stop within the distance the driver can see so advance warning is provided for red signals and speed restrictions.

If the tram is able to stop at an obstruction then it must also be possible to brake for a speed restriction where the speed is lower but still more than zero. If the sign is not visible far enough out then it needs moving or vegetation cutting back or whatever is necessary to make it visible, or if that isn't possible another sign should be provided to reduce the approach speed to the original sign.

Route knowledge reinforces safety, for example by making the drivers aware of known hazards such as side entrances where vehicles may emerge suddenly. But on a tramway it can't replace the need to drive within the safe speed to stop on sight. To paraphrase a road safety poster "you may know the road like the back of your hand but you don't know what's round the next bend".
I agree with your opinion. This confusion between when line-of-sight applies and when route knowledge is needed is I feel the nub of the issue.
 

Antman

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
6,597
Location
London
I really do suggest a man of your mature years once they're in a hole should stop digging. In addition to the Facebook report an email was sent to TfL by another passenger on the same tram on 31st October and replied to on 2nd November, and has been published on the BBC London website. Since then TfL have stated that the driver was not the same man as the driver on the tram that crashed, so they at least are not burying their heads in the sand.

As regards the crash, everyone accepts it was caused by excessive speed: it is the reason for the excessive speed that has to be established. It is not up to anyone here to point the blame, but it's also not up to anyone here to absolve TfL or Firstgroup from it, however indirectly. The full RAIB report will look into the 'wider context', and, of course, there may well be a criminal trial as well.

Looking at the wider picture, the 'Herald of Free Enterprise' ship sank on its cross-channel journey in 1987 with a loss of life approaching 200, both passengers and crew, as a result of catastrophic errors by a few of the crew. Over the period after the sinking a lot came out about both 'crew culture' and 'management culture' which caused this terrible event, corner-cutting by the crew with blind eyes turned by management in order to fit as many journeys in as possible against the competition and profits to be enhanced, with every effort made to avoid safety expenditure which could have stopped this appalling accident from happening. The whole idea of corporate manslaughter arose from this tragedy, but Townsend Thoresen (by then a part of P&O) got subsumed into the main fleet, nobody was convicted of manslaughter for the simple reason that no-one was ever charged, and the damning report into the whole sordid affair gathers dust with all the others. Personally, being of a sceptical disposition, I have my doubts whether TT would ever have been charged even if corporate manslaughter charges had been available. I do know, working in Kent at the time, how devastated the coastal Kentish communities around Dover, Thanet and Shepway were with so many of the dead crew living in those areas, but at least now when deaths occur on public transport there is a better chance of a full investigation looking beyond a tabloid headline.
Give it a rest eh? I think everyone is sick and tired of your ridiculous scaremongering!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
23rd May 2016 from Aslef : '100% of Croydon Tramlink drivers vote for strike action on a 82% turnout' - I found this by putting 'Croydon Tramlink ASLEF' into the search engine, on first page. I can't tell you how many of the drivers belong to ASLEF, or, perhaps more relevantly, how many don't. but it certainly provides very interesting background information on the state of recent employee/employer relations in the organisation.
And are you suggesting that there is any connection between this and the accident or is this just more speculation?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Aslef is effectively saying the trams aren't safe, so will they be advising drivers to refuse to work them until made safe?

Sent from my Swift 2 Plus using Tapatalk
It would be interesting to know what they expect to be done in order to make them 'safe'?

That said, whilst they are undoubtedly just scaremongering there is nothing to stop a similar accident occurring again.
 

MarkyT

Established Member
Joined
20 May 2012
Messages
4,240
Location
Torbay
The higher speed section in question is deservedly rather more segregated than many other parts of the tramlink network. From the video earlier you can see that pedestrians are explicitly excluded from the fully fenced cutting and tunnels by signs and 'cattle grids' as seen at main line level crossings. This means that while drivers can expect to be following a tram in front through the section, visible by its taillights ahead, there should never be other obstructions appearing unexpectedly, as is possible on a road section or a less segregated reservation. There is another segregated section like this on the Addington branch I identified in the video, but it was much lower speed with tight curves, and the Wimbledon single line flyover over the West Croydon - Sutton NR line is treated in the same way. I expect there are other examples around Tramlink, in particular the section where Beckenham Jn trams run alongside heavy rail trains.
 

Antman

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
6,597
Location
London
The higher speed section in question is deservedly rather more segregated than many other parts of the tramlink network. From the video earlier you can see that pedestrians are explicitly excluded from the fully fenced cutting and tunnels by signs and 'cattle grids' as seen at main line level crossings. This means that while drivers can expect to be following a tram in front through the section, visible by its taillights ahead, there should never be other obstructions appearing unexpectedly, as is possible on a road section or a less segregated reservation. There is another segregated section like this on the Addington branch I identified in the video, but it was much lower speed with tight curves, and the Wimbledon single line flyover over the West Croydon - Sutton NR line is treated in the same way. I expect there are other examples around Tramlink, in particular the section where Beckenham Jn trams run alongside heavy rail trains.
There is a tight bend near Harrington Road which is approached at speed from Birkbeck. Also a fast section down Lodge Lane followed by a rapid slow down for the curve into the Addington Village stop. Both these sections are currently in use on the limited service being run on the eastern part of the network. I have heard it suggested (how true I don't know) that reopening has been delayed because no guarantees can be given that the same accident won't happen again.
 
Last edited:
Joined
6 Sep 2011
Messages
928
Location
Blackpool south Shore
The broken CCTV speaks volumes about the care and attention First give to safety
No it doesn't. CCTV isn't a safety system.
CCTV is for crime prevention, public safety. and more.
I know a bus driver who has found cctv very useful.
Irate customer mouthing off and potentially getting nasty, he pointed to the camera, and he calmed down.
Car driver accused him of cutting him up, plenty swearing of gestures etc, was told ''its all on cctv, and would be hearing from his bosses'' he quickly drove off. Complaints reported, but cctv proved otherwise.
Hopefully when the hardrive is tested, some images may be found, but sounds unlikely.
So much valuable crash information would have been recorded, where people were sitting/ standing, invaluable for the investigators, compensation. What the driver was doing. etc, even if it was a limited view.
Also of great interest to tram manufacturers in designing safer trams.
Probably take less amount of time to change the defective unit as changing a bus tyre.
 

Domh245

Established Member
Joined
6 Apr 2013
Messages
5,352
Location
Nottingham
In addition to the Facebook report an email was sent to TfL by another passenger on the same tram on 31st October and replied to on 2nd November, and has been published on the BBC London website. Since then TfL have stated that the driver was not the same man as the driver on the tram that crashed, so they at least are not burying their heads in the sand
For those that haven't seen the email in question yet:

Shantall Singh's email to Tramlink (31 October) said:
As the tram went around the bend at the junction between Lloyds Park and Sandilands the driver from my point of view missed the bend or he was going too fast. I thought I was going to die and leave my two-year-old son. I do hope this matter will be looked into because I am left with a fear for travelling in the tram
Tramlink customer services reply (2 November) said:
We are sorry to hear of this unfortunate incident and we would like to reassure you that we will be fully investigating this. There are a couple of trams it could be and to identify the driver and to view the CCTV from the tram we need to have these details as soon as possible
 

507 001

Established Member
Joined
3 Dec 2008
Messages
1,267
Location
Huyton
And therein lies the dichotomy.

In one breath we are told by those on this forum and those in the railway press that trams are driven 'line-of-sight' which means - and please correct me if I am wrong - that these are driven only as quickly as the driver can slow or stop to avoid a collision or passing a stop signal.
In the next we are told that it's route knowledge that is all important as a tram simply cannot brake sufficiently if the driver had to rely on his/her observations alone.

To me these are not compatible.

.
I'm sorry but the last bit of your post is utter rubbish.

Yes, It's line of sight.

Yes, that means being able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

Yes, Most Speed Limits on Tramways take that into account. That's why in certain places line speed will be lower than the road speed limit.

So Yes, Drivers do need to know where PSR/TSRs start. They do need to know where there are signals. Or where there are other hazards that a car driver may not even notice.

Like I said, a Tram does not stop like a car or a bus, and they sure as hell don't accelerate like one either. Sure, you're usually able to avoid colliding with a car that has just pulled out on you and then decided it wants to take the next right turn, but only using full service, or worse, track brakes or Hazard Brake. But for normal day to day driving you don't want trams suddenly being thrown into full service all the time. Have you ever felt full service on a Flexity? It can knock you off your feet if you're not expecting it.

Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most speed limit changes on heavy rail have a warning sign several hundred yards before the start of the new, lower limit, along with an AWS magnet? (apologies for dodgy terminology)
Not all the time, usually only when the speed is reduced by a certain percentage IIRC.
 

Robbies

Established Member
Joined
20 Sep 2009
Messages
1,997
Location
Berkshire
Correct me if I'm wrong but don't most speed limit changes on heavy rail have a warning sign several hundred yards before the start of the new, lower limit, along with an AWS magnet? (apologies for dodgy terminology)
This is something that I mentioned earlier in the thread, where I suggested that several yards before the turn that there should be a speed limit sign, but I got told that i was being ridiculous.

However, if you look at tram systems in Sheffield or Manchester they have warning signs for changes of speed or for Pedestrian crossings. If you look at many tram systems around Europe, where there is a significant change of speed there are speed warnings to remind the drivers about the change in speed.

I would also like to point out that the driver could still be convicted of manslaughter, as even though it is recognised that the corner is dangerous, if it was to be shown that he was distracted by his mobile phone which ended up that he was not able to put the brake son the tram on in time then there is still a case for him to answer.
 
Last edited:

455refurb

Member
Joined
1 Jun 2011
Messages
50
Location
London
Having watched the cab ride video, I would say that an accident like this at some point was inevitable. I'm just a layman, but it does seem that to go from a 50mph limit to 12mph, with such a severe curve after the straight, coming out of a tunnel (thus I assume more of a disorientation risk at night), with no mitigation against overspeed or at least a warning sign further back to remind the driver, seems like reckless design.
 

Antman

Established Member
Joined
3 May 2013
Messages
6,597
Location
London
This is something that I mentioned earlier in the thread, where I suggested that several yards before the turn that there should be a speed limit sign, but I got told that i was being ridiculous.

However, if you look at tram systems in Sheffield or Manchester they have warning signs for changes of speed or for Pedestrian crossings. If you look at many tram systems around Europe, where there is a significant change of speed there are speed warnings to remind the drivers about the change in speed.

I would also like to point out that the driver could still be convicted of manslaughter, as even though it is recognised that the corner is dangerous, if it was to be shown that he was distracted by his mobile phone which ended up that he was not able to put the brake son the tram on in time then there is still a case for him to answer.
But a speed limit sign wouldn't have prevented this accident.

I don't think it is appropriate to speculate on what the driver did or didn't do.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Having watched the cab ride video, I would say that an accident like this at some point was inevitable. I'm just a layman, but it does seem that to go from a 50mph limit to 12mph, with such a severe curve after the straight, coming out of a tunnel (thus I assume more of a disorientation risk at night), with no mitigation against overspeed or at least a warning sign further back to remind the driver, seems like reckless design.
I suppose it could be said that it was an accident waiting to happen, although no such accident had occurred in the previous 15 years or so. There is a similar curve at the other end of the tunnel and elsewhere on the system, what is the solution?
 

455refurb

Member
Joined
1 Jun 2011
Messages
50
Location
London
I suppose it could be said that it was an accident waiting to happen, although no such accident had occurred in the previous 15 years or so. There is a similar curve at the other end of the tunnel and elsewhere on the system, what is the solution?
Anecdotally though, it sounds like there have been some "near misses" and it could be said that we (the royal we) have just been lucky. I think the solution as discussed in the thread earlier, is some sort of system to stop the tram in good time if it is over the maximum permitted speed when approaching such a section.
 

edwin_m

Veteran Member
Joined
21 Apr 2013
Messages
18,082
Location
Nottingham
The higher speed section in question is deservedly rather more segregated than many other parts of the tramlink network. From the video earlier you can see that pedestrians are explicitly excluded from the fully fenced cutting and tunnels by signs and 'cattle grids' as seen at main line level crossings. This means that while drivers can expect to be following a tram in front through the section, visible by its taillights ahead, there should never be other obstructions appearing unexpectedly, as is possible on a road section or a less segregated reservation. There is another segregated section like this on the Addington branch I identified in the video, but it was much lower speed with tight curves, and the Wimbledon single line flyover over the West Croydon - Sutton NR line is treated in the same way. I expect there are other examples around Tramlink, in particular the section where Beckenham Jn trams run alongside heavy rail trains.
Pedestrians are formally banned from sections of tramway where there is a particular hazard to them, such as lack of safe clearance or points that might move unexpectedly (points in pedestrian areas only move when the tram is closely approaching and people should have got out of the way). But this doesn't invalidate the principle of line of sight. Even in these area it would be possible under unusual circumstances for a tram to be stopped and displaying no lights if there is a problem with the battery etc. Also, of course, there are people who ignore the "no pedestrian" signs. Tram drivers need to be aware that they could encounter a hazard such as this at any time.
 

Top