The train that derailed in Croydon, killing seven people, was travelling three-and-a-half times times its permitted speed, a report has found. A review by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found the tram, which overturned near to the Sandilands tram stop in south London on the morning of 9 November, was travelling at 43.5mph (70km/h) as it approached a bend that had a maximum permitted speed of 12.5 mph.
The tragedy left seven dead and a further 51 hospitalised, eight of them suffering from serious injuries. The driver of the tram, named as 42-year-old Alfred Dorris, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been bailed until May 2017.
As part of its initial review into the crash, the RAIB said there is no evidence of any track defect or obstruction that could have contributed to the derailment.
Investigations are underway into unconfirmed suggestions that the driver was texting or fell asleep prior to the derailment.
The RAIB said a more detailed report into the crash will be released once they have contacted all surviving passengers who were on-board, as well as examined the damaged tram. It hopes the report will determine factors such as the sequence of events before and during the accident, any previous over-speeding incidents at Sandilands Junction and the way in which the tram was being driven .
The victims of the tragedy have been named as Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Logan, 52, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, Robert Huxley, 63, Mark Smith, 35 and Donald Collett, 62,
British Transport Police previously said they are investigating reports that passengers complained a tram travelling to Sandilands was travelling too fast as it took a hard corner one week prior to the crash.
Andy Nias, from Croydon, wrote on Facebook: "30 of us on the tram this morning and we all thought our time was up ... tram driver took the hard corner to Sandilands at 40mph!! I swear the tram lifted on to one side. Everyone still shaking ... it's mad."
In the light of the accident, the RAIB has issued the following urgent safety advice to Tram Operations Ltd and London Trams: "The factors that led to the over-speeding are still under investigation. Until these factors are better understood, and before the junction re-opens to passenger operation, the RAIB advises London Trams and Tram Operations Ltd to jointly take measures to reduce the risk of trams approaching Sandilands Junction from the direction of New Addington at an excessive speed.
"Options for consideration should include the imposition of a further speed restriction before the start of the existing 12.5mph speed restriction around the curve and/ or additional operational signs."
Mike Brown, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "Our thoughts are with everyone affected by what happened last Wednesday, and we are working with the local community to ensure that they continue to receive all the support they need at this incredibly difficult time.
"I thank the RAIB for their thorough and swift interim investigation. Our engineers have now repaired all track and other equipment and have run trams over the repaired section.
"We will follow the RAIB's advice and, before service is resumed, will implement additional temporary speed restrictions and associated signage near Sandilands to supplement existing safety arrangements.
"We are continuing to carry out a thorough safety assessment and are taking the advice of an independent panel of tram experts. We will only resume services for the local community once that rigorous assurance process has been completed."