Wimbledon Tram Service Set To Get Automatic Braking System

Safety measures follow the 2016 tram tragedy

The Wimbledon to Croydon tram service will be the first in the UK to have an automatic braking system to bring a moving tram to a controlled stop if it exceeds the speed limit at designated locations.


Work began on the feasibility of introducing this new safety measure after the 2016 tram tragedy at Sandilands, Croydon, in which seven people died and 62 were injured.


TL says the new system is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019, including a period of training and familiarisation with tram drivers, and will operate alongside the driver protection device that has been in operation since September 2017, alerting to any signs of driver distraction and fatigue.

Automatic braking is one of the recommendations set out by the Rail Accidents Investigation Branch (RAIB) following the overturning of the tram at Sandilands.

Wimbledon to Croydon tramIt will initially be configured to priority high-risk locations as suggested by the RAIB but will have the flexibility to be introduced elsewhere on the tram network.

TfL says the RAIB listed 15 recommendations aimed at the UK tram industry following the overturning. Work has progressed on all of the recommendations specific to TfL with some already complete.

These include a permanent speed reduction across the tram network, speed monitoring and signage at significant bends, an enhanced customer complaints process and the installation of a driver protection device that alerts to driver distraction or fatigue.

A new emergency lighting system, which will operate independently of the tram’s battery in the event of an emergency, has also been procured and will be installed over the summer.

A higher specification safety film that is 75% thicker than the current product will also be fitted to all doors and windows to improve containment by spring.

Mark Davis, TfL’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. We will work to have the new system, which will automatically apply the brakes if a tram is exceeding the speed limit, in full operation by the end of the year.”

January 21, 2019