TfL and TOL fined £14m for failures that led to tram crash

Long wait for justice: it has taken nearly seven years for all the legal proceedings following the crash at Sandilands in November 2016

‘This was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen, quite literally’ said the Old Bailey judge when handing down the sentences to Transport for London and First Group’s Tram Operations Ltd

The operators of the Croydon tram network were today handed fines amounting to £14million for the corporate failings that led to the 2016 crash outside Sandilands in which seven people were killed.

Transport for London was fined £10million and Tram Operations Limited £4million for failing in their health and safety duties.

The operators had also been ordered by the Old Bailey judge to pay £500,000 in legal costs incurred by prosecutors, the Office for Road and Rail.

The early morning tram from New Addington on November 9, 2016, was carrying 69 people when it toppled over on a sharp bend, having been travelling at three times the 12mph speed limit for that stretch of track.

Driver Alfred Dorris was last month cleared of health and safety offences.

Today, presiding judge Mr Justice Fraser told the court: “This was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen, quite literally.”

He added there was a failure to heed warnings about the risk of drivers becoming disorientated in the tunnel from Lloyd Park to Sandilands on the approach to the curve, and that a report of a “near miss” just days before the crash was “ignored”.

The “complacency” around the inadequate lighting and lack of visual cues in the tunnel was “disturbing”, the judge said.

The Croydon crash was the worst incident involving trams for almost 100 years.

In a statement issued by TfL today, they said, “Every passenger on the tram that morning entrusted their safety to us, but we failed them.”

Victims: From left, Mark Smith, Dane Chinnery, Phil Seary and Dorota Rynkiewicz (l-r) all died in the crash

Victims: From left Philip Logan, Donald Collett and Robert Huxley

The three-day hearing had spent time hearing victim statements from survivors of the crash, several of whom had suffered life-changing injuries, and the bereaved relatives of those killed.

The people who died were Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, Philip Logan, 52, Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35.

Among those giving victim impact statements was Jean Smith, the mother of Mark Smith, who said that no amount of money or justice would bring her son back but getting accountability may “bring some sense of peace”.

She said, “We have to live with the consequences of other people’s actions for the rest of our lives. I’m living a life sentence. It should never have happened.”

Read more: ‘We failed every passenger on that tram and I am truly sorry’
Read more: Time has come for real answers over the Croydon tram crash

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5 Responses to TfL and TOL fined £14m for failures that led to tram crash

  1. Sarah Bird says:

    The fine should have far higher. In my view it was absolutely right that the tram driver was acquitted.

  2. Tracy mcauley says:

    No amount of money will bring back my dad, Philip Logan.

    That fine is pennies to the company.

    If I killed seven people doing over three times the speed limit, I would have been sent to jail

  3. chris myers says:

    The sad fact is that we will all pay this fine, in increased fares. It’s a complete nonsense and cannot be called ‘justice’ by any measure

  4. Who in reality pays the fines? With TfL, isn’t that us, as Londoners?

    With Tram Operations Ltd, that’ll be the parent company, where £4 million will barely be noticed out of an annual revenue of over £4.4 billion and a net profit of £642 million. If they don’t want to take the hit, they’ll pass on the cost to public transport users.

    There’s been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over some legitimate comments made about Nigel Farage and his bank account. Dame Alison Rose was forced to resign as part of the far-right cancel culture that prevails now, and the NF stormtroopers are calling for the whole NatWest Board to go too.

    Say nasty things about Nigel, and you’re sacked. Kill seven people and injure many more, and nothing happens

  5. Ian Kierans says:

    I recall visiting Selbie House in 1990 and being strongly advised by the BTP sargeant and instructors on site of my roles, duties and responsibilities and the penalties if I caused the death of any member of staff, visitor or the travelling public through my negligence.

    One penalty most definitely involved a spell at an isolated location, full board inclusive and vitamin d capsules optional to deal with the light deprivation. No Sky blue or cable!

    This very well illustrated lesson stayed with me and when incidents occurred I reacted without thinking as I did not want anyone to be caused harm for any reason even tthrough heir own temporary loss of mind or other action.

    Some said those actions I took, on many occassions, were courageous and gave me commendations and awards. But I did not think they were brave and still do not. In fact in hindsight they scared the pants off me. But I was there and in charge. It was my job to ensure those people got home uninjured and alive.

    That outlook stayed with me and is still how I view it today.

    Many I worked with had the same attitude at that time and went through the same training. Including a recent Commissioner Mr A Byford.

    After Clapham Junction and Purley Oaks I believe I took that lesson at Selbie House to heart and it guided everything I did on Transport every day and in every task. It is perhaps a reason I went from dealing with Trades Unions to representing them and negotiating on their behalf for a while to help improve the systems.

    Customer safety is paamount – no excuses.

    I never knew those that died at Kings Cross and it was just before I joined LRT. But 33 years later I remember all that was shown to me in 1990 very vividly and I have never forgotten those that lost their lives at Kings Cross to this day.

    Because of that one intervention and training (all introduced as reccomendation from the inquiry into that disaster) many people did not suffer injury or death on railways afterwards. In fact we always aimed for zero deaths and zero serious injuries every day and achieved that many times in difficult circumstances There were many more changes like fast tract firs systems metal escalators and ATP. and LUL became a safer system because of it. But the biggest change that stood the test of time was Manager’s and staff mindsets – Passenger safety first always.

    I do feel that if the same interventions can be put in place by TfL and TOL they can ensure that all managers and staff resoonsible for safe operational running will know in their hearts and minds what needs to be done daily and relentlessly and by instinctive actions will prevent this happening ever again.

    That is what public service is and means.

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