Croydon Tram Disaster

Photo from RAIB report

Photo from RAIB report

While everyone was still in a state of shock over the news from across the Atlantic, news reports filtered through back home that a tram had overturned in Croydon and people were trapped.

By mid-morning it was clear it was quite a serious incident. Then came the news that there were multiple fatalities as well as more that fifty injured, and the tram driver had been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. It had gone from a serious incident to a major disaster.

The Rail Accident Investigation Board (RAIB) has put out a preliminary report, possibly to quell media speculation. It stated that the curve on which the tram derailed had a speed limit of 12 mph, and, as ought to have been evident from the aerial photographs in the media, the tram had been travelling well in excess of that.

It’s the first multiple-fatality rail accident in Britain since the Ufton Nervet crash way back in 2004.

You don’t associate trams with accidents on this scale. Since the opening of the Manchester Metrolink in 1992, trams have returned to the streets of several of Britain’s cities, with a good safety record. While there have been a few fatal incidents involving pedestrians or other road users, I don’t recall a single fatality to a tram passenger before.

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