Croydon tram crash: Tfl and tram operators admit failings over fatal crash

10 June 2022, 11:45

First court hearing following the 2016 Croydon tram crash
First court hearing following the 2016 Croydon tram crash. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By StephenRigley

Tfl and the operators of the Croydon tram line have admitted health and safety failings over the 2016 crash which killed seven passengers.

FirstGroup-owned Tram Operations (TOL), Tfl, and tram driver Alfred Dorris

Friday’s hearing at Croydon Magistrates’ Court was the first to take place in relation to a criminal prosecution regarding the crash.

TfL and TOL indicated to the court that they will plead guilty to health and safety failings, while driver Alfred Dorris said he will deny the charge of failing as an employee to take reasonable care of passengers.

The prosecution is being brought by regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

Victims Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, and Philip Logan, 52, all from New Addington, and Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35, both from Croydon all died in the derailment, which also left 51 passengers injured.

7 Left Dead After Croydon Tram Accident
7 Left Dead After Croydon Tram Accident. Picture: Getty
Croydon Tram Crash 2016
Croydon Tram Crash 2016. Picture: Alamy

An inquest last year heard the tram toppled over and spun off the tracks in darkness and heavy rain near the Sandilands stop after approaching a curve at 73kph (45mph).

The speed limit for that stretch of track was 20kph (12mph).

Services on Croydon Tramlink are managed by TfL and operated by TOL.

Both organisations are alleged to have “failed to ensure the health and safety of passengers on the Croydon Tramlink network, so far as reasonably practicable”, the ORR said.

Read More: Croydon tram crash: TfL to be prosecuted over 'health and safety failings'

Read More: Croydon tram crash: Victims 'died in accident and were not unlawfully killed'

District Judge Nigel Dean told Dorris, 48, of Beckhenham, he was being released on unconditional bail to appear next at Croydon Crown Court on July 8.

Both Transport for London and FirstGroup-owned TOL will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be fixed.

TfL said its indicated guilty plea will enable court proceedings to “come to a conclusion as promptly as possible”.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We have worked closely with the RAIB and the ORR since November 2016 to introduce a new safety regime and implement all the recommendations from the organisations across the tram network.

"This has made the network safer for everyone and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure that such a tragedy could never occur again.

“We agreed to all of the RAIB’s safety recommendations and accepted liability to ensure civil claims could proceed as soon as possible."A number of bereaved relatives were present in court for the brief hearing."