Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has chosen rolling stock engineering consultancy DB ESG, a division of Deutsche Bahn, to deliver a tram safety-improvement programme for its Metrolink service. 

In partnership with Sella Controls, the contract will see the company work on the design and installation of driver vigilance devices and tram overspeed protection systems for the Metrolink fleet.

TfGM’s work on tram safety continues the Rail Accident Investigation Branch’s 2017 recommendation that light rail networks work on preventing serious accidents after the tragic Sandilands accident where a tram overturned, leading to the deaths of seven people. 

Metrolink head Danny Vaughan highlighted the network’s “exemplary safety record” and said that the use of innovative technology to monitor driver attention and over-speeding was “industry-leading”. 

Vaughan also noted: “The safety of our customers and staff is paramount, which is why we have robust safety and assurance practices built into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the network.

“Metrolink is the largest and most complex light rail system in the country and we’ve worked very closely with leading industry experts to ensure we get the right solution and we look forward to working with DB ESG to deliver them.”

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The Sella Controls systems that DB ESG will help install mean that drivers will be alerted about over-speeding and brakes will be automatically applied if there is no response. The protection system will also operate separately from other tram-monitoring systems to ensure it can work independently. 

Sella Controls’ business development manager Rob Nield said: “Following the successful delivery of the UK’s first SIL2 Light Rail Overspeed Prevention System, we are pleased to once again work closely with DB ESG and newly TfGM, to deliver a solution which further bolsters the already outstanding Metrolink safety record.” 

The project stems from work done by Metrolink to trial solutions on behalf of the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board. This will utilise over 100km of track and almost 150 vehicles, equating to 46% of the UK’s whole tram fleet.