Dozens of rush-hour passengers on a crowded tram heading towards New Addington last night were thrown to the vehicle floor when the driver applied the brakes in an emergency stop to avoid a collision with another tram.
The incident happened at Sandilands, close to the scene of the tragic tram derailment in November 2016.
On this occasion no one was seriously hurt and there was no suggestion that the tram was travelling too quickly, as happened with the tram crash in which seven people were killed and 61 injured. The official inquiry into that crash issued its report last month, with a series of detailed recommendations.
Last night’s incident occurred around 6.30pm, when a tram packed with more than 100 passengers was pulling out of Sandilands to continue its journey on the New Addington line.
“Really scary experience on a really busy tram,” one passenger tweeted. “Driver slammed on so hard that everyone went flying.”
Passengers on board the tram suggest that there may have been an issue with either faulty signalling, or the tram breaking the signal.
Another eye-witness told Inside Croydon, “Given it was rush hour, there was around 100-150 people on board – the tram was rammed.
“The tram had just pulled away from Sandilands and was reaching the corner where the crash had happened. It was picking up speed – but clearly as it was cornering it wasn’t going too fast. Which is a good thing.
“It suddenly slammed on the brakes. I reckon about 20 people were sent flying – including an old lady in a mobility scooter who went over and young guy landed on her.
“No one was seriously hurt, but as you can imagine, everyone was a little shaken up.
“The driver came on, apologised and said something like ‘the signal didn’t work’ and ‘I had to avoid another tram’. You could then see there was another tram on the line coming from Elmers End.
“We stopped for three or four minutes, when everyone was a little confused. The driver stayed where he was – and then just carried on driving. He didn’t check whether everyone was ok or anything.
“If the other tram had been one minute earlier or ours a minute later, it would have been not good. I think the tram could have only been going at 10-15mph, but given that even at this speed, and the fact so many people were standing – it shows the issues of the trams are not fixed.”
Jonathan Fox, Transport for London’s director of rail, told Inside Croydon: “Yesterday evening a tram driver applied the hazard brake as a signal changed to stop near Sandilands. No other tram was involved.
“We appreciate this may have been concerning for some passengers and give our assurances that safety is our top priority. We encourage anyone with any concerns or issues about the tram network to call TfL on 0343 222 1234.”
Updated to include comment from TfL
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