Croydon tram disaster trial heard 10 days before alleged ‘near miss’

A passenger on a Croydon tram reportedly feared for his safety, a court has heard, 10 days before the train derailment that killed seven people and injured several others in a “near miss”. they were finished.

Tram driver Alfred Dorries, 49, is on trial at the Old Bailey for failing to take reasonable care of himself and his 69 passengers when the derailment occurred early on 9 November 2016.

It is alleged that he was traveling at three times his speed limit when his tram overturned at a sharp turn near Sandilands stop in South London.

On Wednesday, Sarah Claypole, who was a senior manager at the time, told jurors that she was unaware of an alleged “near miss” or failure by drivers to report errors on October 31, 2016.

On 31 October 2016, approximately nine to 10 days prior, a passenger indicated that their anxiety was such that they genuinely feared for their safety.

defense barrister miles bennett

Defense barrister Myles Bennett asked: “Do you now know that there was a near miss at a similar location on 31 October with another driver at a similar location?”

Mrs Claypole replied: “No, I was not aware of that.”

Mr Bennett asked what she would have done if she had been alerted “that a driver was rounding the corner at Sandilands at such a speed that the left-hand wheels of the tram actually lifted off the track”.

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Mrs Claypole said she would have gathered evidence to verify the report, followed up with an investigation and looked into any “mitigating” features.

Mr Bennett insisted: “If this actually happened and someone leaned over at such a speed that the wheels came up and almost turned over that would be a major issue.”

The witness agreed with the barrister’s suggestion that it would be of “great concern”.

Mrs Claypole said she wanted to verify this but said she did not remember any discussions or reports about the “alleged incident”.

Mr Bennett insisted: “On 31 October 2016, approximately nine to 10 days prior, a passenger indicated that their anxiety was such that they genuinely feared for their safety.”

After the derailment, Mrs. Claypole told jurors that safety measures had been taken out of caution to avoid a “knee-jerk reaction” that was not sustainable.

She further described how she had met Doris on a routine “cab ride” prior to the disaster.

I had the impression that he was proud to be a driver

sarah claypole

At the time of the encounter, she was “impressed by his attitude towards security” and that “she was putting security first”, the court was told.

She told jurors that she was “surprised” to learn that he was the driver involved in the derailment as she was “very impressed with him on that particular day”.

She said: “I think he was proud of being a driver.”

Doris, from Beckenham, South East London, denies a single charge of failing to take reasonable care at work under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

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The seven passengers killed were Dan Chinnery, Donald Collett, Robert Huxley, Philip Logan, Dorota Renkiewicz, Philip Seery, and Mark Smith.

The Old Bailey Trail continues.

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