JEREMY CLACKSON, our transport reporter, on more delays
Chris Grayling, the Tory transport minister criticised by MPs today for his feeble efforts in resolving timetable chaos on Southern trains, is failing in other ways too, such as in his correspondence with other parliamentarians.
Sarah Jones, the Labour MP for Croydon Central, has been waiting nearly a month for the transport secretary – or his department – to have the common decency to respond to her letter seeking answers to important questions about safety on the tram network.
This follows her discovery that the Government is withholding funding for the creation of a tram safety body, which is needed to push through many safety improvements recommended a year ago following the 2016 Croydon tram crash in which seven people died and 62 others hurt, some suffering life-changing injuries, in the derailment near at Sandilands tram stop.
It is almost a year since the Rail Accident Investigation Branch – RAIB – delivered its report on the Croydon crash, and with it 15 recommendations for improved safety on the trams. Since then, only half of the RAIB recommendations have been carried out.
“The Croydon tram crash was the worst tram disaster for a century and the worst rail accident for 17 years,” Jones said.
“Families and friends of those who lost loved ones, and those who were injured, deserve to know that the Government is working to improve tram safety as quickly as possible.
“However, a year after a series of expert recommendations were made and Government Ministers still haven’t made a single statement in Parliament about tram safety.
“It suggests that the Government hasn’t been as active as it should have been on this issue.”
Jones has managed to secure a debate on tram safety in the House of Commons next Monday, December 10.
On the day of the debate, Jones, pictured right, will host families of those who died in the tram crash for a meeting in Parliament with senior Transport for London executives.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently reiterated his commitment to improving tram safety in London, including measures to strengthen tram doors and windows and develop automatic braking systems – all of which was recommended in the RAIB report.
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