Trams on the London network are to be fitted with automatic braking systems this year in response to safety recommendations made after the deadly Croydon crash.

The measure was among 15 recommendations made by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) following its investigation into the November 2016 tragedy.

Nine people died and 51 were injured when a tram came off the tracks in darkness and heavy rain as it travelled around a bend near Sandilands.

The tram was moving at almost four times the speed limit and investigators suspect the driver had “temporarily lost awareness” after a “micro sleep”.

Transport for London (TfL) said the new safety measures, the first in the UK, will initially be used for “high-risk” locations identified by the RAIB, although they can be rolled out more widely if needed.

It means all 15 of the RAIB’s recommendations are now “in progress or complete”, TfL said.

Mark Davis, general manager of London Trams, said: “We will never forget the tragedy at Sandilands and from day one have focused our attention on preventing this type of incident from ever happening again.

“Awarding the contract for a new automatic braking system is a first for trams in the UK, and not only will it improve safety for customers in London, but we hope it will lead the way for other tram operators across the country.

“We will work to have the new system, which will automatically apply the brakes if a tram is exceeding the speed limit, in full operation by the end of the year.”

The system will automatically apply the brakes and bring a moving tram to a controlled stop if exceeding the speed limit at designated locations.

“Work began on the feasibility of introducing this new safety measure, which has not been introduced on any UK trams before, shortly after the tragic overturning at Sandilands, Croydon, in November 2016,” TfL said.

“It is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2019, including a period of training and familiarisation with tram drivers, and will operate alongside the driver protection device that has been in operation since September 2017, alerting to any signs of driver distraction and fatigue.”

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