Transport for London (TfL) and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) have been fined a total of £14 million over the Croydon derailment which claimed the lives of seven passengers.

The incident took place on the morning of November 9 2016 near the Sandilands stop seeing many people injured as a tram carrying 69 people derailed. 

TfL and TOL have accepted failing in their health and safety duties and in a filmed sentencing at the Old Bailey on Thursday, Mr Justice Fraser fined TfL £10 million and TOL £4 million.

TfL fined £10 million over Croydon tram disaster

Mr Justice Fraser had already ordered they each pay £234,404 in costs to the prosecuting authority, the Office of Rail and Road, and a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking to the court, Mr Justice Fraser said: "This was undoubtedly an accident waiting to happen, quite literally.”

Your Local Guardian: Floral tributes and Crystal Palace football colours left near the scene where a tram crashed, killing seven people, in Croydon, south London (PA)Floral tributes and Crystal Palace football colours left near the scene where a tram crashed, killing seven people, in Croydon, south London (PA) (Image: PA)

Adding that there was a failure to heed warnings about the risk of drivers becoming disorientated in the Sandiland tunnel network on the approach to the curve and a report of a “near miss” just days before the crash was “ignored”.

The “complacency” around the inadequate lighting and lack of visual cues in the tunnel was “disturbing”, the judge said.

The court heard how tram 2551 was going three times the 20kph speed limit when it derailed on a sharp corner at Sandilands.

The tram driver, Alfred Dorris, 49 from Beckenham, south-east London, was cleared of failing in his duty after claiming he had become disorientated and thought he was going in the other direction.

Your Local Guardian: The scene of the crash in November 2016 (PA)The scene of the crash in November 2016 (PA) (Image: PA)

He blamed the crash on external factors including the poor lighting and signage on the approach through the Sandilands tunnel complex.

The people 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.

Mr Smith’s family, who had sat in court throughout the hearings, described the crash as “wholly avoidable”.

His mother Jean Smith said no amount of money or justice would bring her son back but getting accountability may “bring some sense of peace”.

She said: “We have to live with the consequences of other people’s actions for the rest of our lives. I’m living a life sentence. It should never have happened.”

Discussing the incident, Ian Prosser CBE, Chief Inspector of Railways, said:   

“When faced with the evidence of their failure over a number of years, both TfL and TOL accepted that they had not done everything that was reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of their passengers, with terrible consequences on the early morning of 9 November 2016.   

“We must never forget the tragedy of that day, and must strive to learn all of its lessons so there can be no repetition. Our thoughts remain with those whose lives were so affected.  The judge’s remarks and the sentences imposed underline to the corporate defendants and the whole industry that their first responsibility is to ensure the safety of their passengers and staff.

“We welcome the improvements made to the network since the incident. We will continue to scrutinise this vital industry and hold operators to account if they fall short.”