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Police question Beckenham driver of Croydon tram about fatal crash

PUBLISHED: 09:18 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:18 21 September 2017

Seven people died in the Croydon tram crash on November 9 2016

Seven people died in the Croydon tram crash on November 9 2016

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Seven people died in the crash in November last year

The man driving the Croydon tram which crashed killing seven people has been further questioned by police on suspicion of manslaughter.

Alfred Dorris, 43, from Beckenham, was arrested at the scene of the incident in November 2016.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson said: “This is a complex enquiry and we have a team of detectives who are dedicated to investigating the cause of the derailment.

“There has been good progress in the investigation since the incident last November and on Wednesday we further interviewed the driver.

“We have released him under investigation as we now finalise the report for the Crown Prosecution Service.”

The crash left seven people dead and 51 injured on November 9 last year.

Around 70 passengers were on the two-carriage tram when it came off the tracks, overturned and slid for 25 metres.

An interim accident report found it was travelling at 46mph as it entered a sharp bend at Sandilands Junction, which had a 13mph limit.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) previously found the lack of emergency braking by the tram suggested the driver “lost awareness” as it entered the sharp bend at almost four times the speed limit.

Analysis of the on-board data recorder showed the regular service brake was not applied until around 2.5 seconds before the tram reached a 20km/h (13mph) speed limit sign at the Sandilands curve where the accident occurred at 6.07am.

The RAIB findings published shortly after the crash gave the speed of the tram as it entered the bend as about 43.5mph.

But in a second interim report it stated that the tram slowed from 49mph to 46mph only by the time it passed the speed limit sign. The hazard brake was not used.

Investigators found that the point at which the bend can be seen and the sign becomes readable in clear conditions is up to 120 metres beyond where a regular full brake must start in order to reduce speed from 50mph (the maximum permitted for trams approaching the area) to 13mph.

But the “readability” of the sign is likely to have been reduced by heavy rain at the time of the crash, the RAIB noted.

The report added: “There was no sign to indicate to drivers where they should begin to apply the brake for the Sandilands curve; they were expected to know this from their knowledge of the route.”

A full accident report is expected to be published later this year.

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