Tramlink look for new automatic braking system

Transport for London (TfL) have started the process of tendering for the installation of a new safety system on London Tramink which would automatically apply the brakes should the speed limit be exceeded at high risk locations. Work has been in progress of studying the feasibility of the introduction of a similar system ever since the tragic events at Sandilands in November 2016 when a tram left the rails with seven people dying as a result.

The new system will see a tram brought to a controlled stop if it were to exceed the speed limit at a designated location with the system also alerting the operations control centre. Initially the system will be configured to priority locations as suggested by the RAIB but will, in the long term, have the flexibility to be introduced elsewhere on the network.

A contract notice has been issued through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) with TfL inviting interest from companies who have innovative solutions to meet the specification. An official invitation to tender is hoped to be issued in the summer with contract awarded by the end of the year. It is then planned that the full system will be in place by the end of 2019, allowing for a period of training and familiarisation.

Jonathan Fox, TfL Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said: “Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the tragedy at Sandilands and we continue to do all we can to support them. This new braking system is just one of the additional safety measures we have been working continually on for the tram network to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. We continue to liaise with other tram operators across the country to assist them in addressing the RAIB recommendation for their networks.”

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