Tram driver’s ‘mi­crosleep’ may have led to fa­tal crash

Fate­ful sec­onds as ve­hi­cle gained speed

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS - BY NEIL LANCEFIELD

The driver in­volved in the Croy­don tram crash pos­si­bly drifted into a “mi­crosleep” be­fore speed­ing round a sharp bend, an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has found.

Al­fred Dor­ris, 43, from Beck­en­ham, south-east Lon­don, was driving the tram when it came off the tracks at al­most four times the speed limit in dark­ness and heavy rain on Novem­ber 9 last year, killing seven peo­ple and in­jur­ing 51.

The Rail Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (RAIB) be­lieve it is “prob­a­ble” he “tem­po­rar­ily lost aware­ness” and may have fallen into a mi­crosleep for up to 49 sec­onds.

When he roused from his dis­ori­en­ta­tion, he ini- tially be­lieved the tram was trav­el­ling in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. The re­port says “he stated that he did not re­alise he was ap­proach­ing Sandi­lands un­til the tram turned into the curve”.

Some pas­sen­gers de­scribed the crash as “like be­ing in a wash­ing ma­chine”. Peo­ple fell through the open­ings where win­dows had smashed and doors were torn off.

They were “crushed un­der the tram” as it slid for three sec­onds and 27 me­tres be­fore com­ing to a rest.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors made 15 safety rec­om­men­da­tions in­clud­ing op­er­a­tor Tram Op­er­a­tions Ltd re­view­ing its man­age­ment of driver fa­tigue, tougher win­dows and bet­ter sig­nage at high­risk lo­ca­tions.

AF­TER­MATH: Res­cue work­ers and in­ves­ti­ga­tors at the scene of the tram crash that killed seven and in­jured 51

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