Alfred Dorris trial: Tram involved in ‘near miss’ 10 days before Croydon tragedy
Croydon tram crash driver Dorris, 49, was allegedly speeding when the vehicle derailed on a sharp corner near the Sandilands stop in south London on 9 November 2016.
A Croydon tram was involved in a “near miss” on the same stretch of track 10 days before a derailment killed seven people and injured many more, a court has heard.
Alfred Dorris, 49, is on trial for allegedly speeding when the tram he was driving derailed on a sharp corner near the Sandilands stop in south London on 9 November 2016, killing seven people and injuring dozens more.
On Wednesday, Sarah Claypole, who was a senior manager at the time, told jurors that was unaware of an alleged “near miss” on 31 October 2016 involving a different driver.
Defence barrister Miles Bennett said: “On 31 October 2016, some nine to 10 days before, a passenger indicated such was their concerns that they genuinely feared for their safety.”
He asked Mrs Claypole what she would have done if she had been alerted “that a driver had gone round the corner at Sandilands at such a speed that the wheels on the left-hand side of the tram actually lifted off the track”.
Mrs Claypole said she would have collected evidence to verify the report, followed up with an investigation and looked into any “mitigating” features.
The witness agreed with the barrister’s suggestion it would have been of “huge concern”, but added she did not recall any discussion or report around the “alleged incident”.
She told jurors that safety measures were put in place after the derailment, while being careful to avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” that was not sustainable.
Croydon train crash: Read more
Croydon tram disaster driver asked passengers ‘how did that happen’
Tram crash driver exchanged waves with colleague before tragedy, court told
Who is Croydon tram driver Alfred Dorris?
Alfred Dorris, 49, was the driver of a tram operated by Tramlink which derailed and overturned in Croydon, south London, on 9 November 2016, killing seven people and injuring 61.
Of those injured, 19 sustained serious injuries.
The tram service was running from New Addington to Wimbledon via Croydon, and was on the approach to Sandilands tram stop when it crashed at 6.07am.
Those who died in the crash were between 19 and 63 years old.
What is he charged with?
Dorris, from Beckenham, south London, denies a charge of failing to take reasonable care of himself and his 69 passengers when the derailment happened.
Of the 69 passengers on board tram 2551 that morning, seven were killed and 61 were injured, 19 of them seriously.Prosecutors previously told the Old Bailey the tram was travelling at more than 70kph (43mph) in a section with a 20kph (12mph) speed limit.
The seven passengers who died were Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, and Philip Logan, 52, all from New Addington, and Donald Collett, 62, and Mark Smith, 35, both from Croydon.
In June 2022, Tram Operations Limited (TOL) and Transport for London (TfL) pleaded guilty to failure to ensure the health and safety of passengers.
The trial, which is expected to last up to five weeks, continues.
Watch: Driver in fatal 2016 Croydon tram crash goes on trial