Sandilands tram incident


On 9 November 2016 a tram travelling in poor weather and at three times the speed permitted, overturned approaching Sandilands junction in Croydon. Seven people died and many were injured, 19 seriously. 

Following an investigation and prosecution by the Office of Rail and Road, on 27 July 2023 Transport for London (TfL) and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) were fined a total of £14m after pleading guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Letters and other documents relating to ORR's work on this are listed below. 

Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report

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RAIB published their report into the incident on 7 December 2017, making far-reaching recommendations on the tram sector and ORR as its regulator. In line with all other RAIB recommendations, ORR has a statutory obligation to report to RAIB on the status of the recommendations within 12 months of a report being published.

Implementation of many of the recommendations needs coordination on an industry-wide basis and it was therefore appropriate for ORR (as owner of two of the recommendations and given our legal responsibilities in relation to all RAIB recs) to facilitate the initial cross-industry collaboration.

We carefully considered the report and recommendations, including in discussions with the UK tram industry at a sector safety conference held in Manchester on 22 January 2018.

The Light Rapid Transit Safety and Standards Board (LRTSSB) steering group was established following the conference, with the aim of considering recommendations 1-8 on an industry wide basis. ORR sits on the steering group as an observer.

We welcome the cross industry approach that is already being taken to consider how to address the recommendations through the LRTSSB steering group and we encourage all end implementers of these recommendations to participate in that group’s activities.

Our objectives

  • To ensure the tram industry takes the right actions in response, in the right order and with suitable pace.
  • In particular:
    • Reasonably practicable safety improvements are made, with a focus on improving control of risk and preventing (rather than simply mitigating) further accidents;
    • Decisions are made based on sound evidence of the level of risk and the costs of intervention;
    • Collaboration occurs to support consistent adoption of good practice and consensual decision-making around safety data, risk profiling and standards;
    • Tram duty holders take collective ownership of the recommendations, but we hold them to account to demonstrate satisfactory progress.