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Croydon tram crash: Transport operators facing large fines over over disaster

The scene after a tram overturned in Croydon, south London in 2016

Transport operators are facing large fines over the Croydon tram disaster in which seven passengers died and 21 more were seriously hurt.

Tram 2551 was going three times the speed limit when it derailed on a sharp corner on the approach to Sandilands stop with 69 people on board on the morning of November 9 2016.

On Monday, the driver Alfred Dorris, 49, was cleared of failing to take reasonable care of his passengers that day.

He had told jurors at the Old Bailey he had become disorientated and thought he was travelling in the opposite direction.

He blamed his confusion on a combination of external factors including poor lighting and signage on the approach through the Sandilands tunnel complex.

Jurors had been told that Transport for London (TfL) and Tram Operations Limited (TOL) had accepted health and safety failings relating to the catastrophic derailment.

Tram driver Alfred Dorris

The case against Mr Dorris, TfL and Croydon-based TOL was brought by the Office of Rail and Road.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Mr Justice Fraser said the two operators would be sentenced over three days – on July 24, 26, and 27.

Victims’ families and survivors were encouraged to submit personal statements that could be read on the first day of the sentencing hearings.

The senior judge said: “If they wish to read their victim personal statements themselves they are very welcome to do that, if not encouraged to do that.”

He also confirmed that he was minded to agree to a media request to televise his sentencing remarks – which would be the first time a case not brought by the Crown Prosecution Service has been filmed.

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.

During Mr Dorris’s trial, families of the victims had sat in court one of the Old Bailey or attended by video-link from Croydon.