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TfL admits civil liability for Sandilands crash

Tramlink 2551 derailed and overturned at Sandilands Junction on 9 November 2016, ending up on its side in the middle of the junction.

Transport for London (TfL) has begun admitting liability in relation to compensation claims for those injured and affected by last year’s tram derailment on the London Tramlink network. The derailment on 9 November, which saw a 05.55 service from New Addington overturn at Sandilands Junction, saw seven people killed and 51 injured.

A number of survivors and families of the victims have launched legal claims against TfL, which manages the network, and First Group subsidiary Tram Operations Ltd (TOL), which is responsible for the trams operation.

In a letter from the law firm handling the case of one of the victims, insurers for TfL and Tram Operation said the letter was an “admission of liability for the purposes of your client’s civil claim”.

TfL’s Director of London Rail confirmed that: “We have been in touch with everyone injured who has notified us of a claim and with the dependents of the people who lost their lives to confirm that liability is admitted in respect of their civil claims.”

Although the cause of the derailment is not yet known, an interim report published last month by the UK’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) stated that the driver of the tram had “lost awareness”, and that the tram was travelling at 74km/h (46mph) rather than 70km/h (43.5mph) as previously thought.

In accordance with advice in the RAIB’s first interim report, additional speed restrictions and associated signage were introduced near Sandilands and at three other locations on the network. Chevron signs were installed in January 2017 at four sites with significant bends and information has been shared with other UK tram operators.