This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 19/09/2017.
Transport for London boss overseeing trams to leave ‘towards end of the year’
The Transport for London (TfL) boss overseeing the Croydon tram network will be leaving towards the end of the year, it has been announced.
Leon Daniels has been managing director of surface transport for nearly seven years, with buses and the trams coming under his responsibilities.
Mr Daniels previously worked for 13 years, including as a director, at FirstGroup, the parent company of Tram Operations Limited (TOL) which operates Croydon’s trams on a contract from TfL.
As part of its investigation, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is probing how the tram network was managed before the crash which killed seven people last November.
Mr Daniels’ departure will mean further changes in regards to those running the tram network, with TOL boss John Rymer retiring this year and being replaced by Jackie Townsend, formerly operations director at train operating company First Capital Connect.
TfL said in a statement from Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, that Mr Daniels had made a “very significant contribution” to the transport authority.
Mr Brown said: “Leon had intended to retire in 2015 but agreed to stay on after my appointment as commissioner.
“He has made a very significant contribution to TfL and London and has done this critical job for longer than any of his predecessors. Our progress under his leadership has been considerable.
“This includes building a bus service that is the envy of all world cities, laying firm foundations for radical change in walking and cycling and helping focus us on improving road safety and air quality to help secure our city’s future.
“Leon led our surface teams through the most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games and, as head of our resilience functions, has provided leadership and support at difficult times.
“I am very grateful for the advice and support he has given me, and we will all be wishing him the very best for the future.”
An internal memo shown to the Advertiser, by a source, which was sent out from Mr Brown to staff at TfL was different in both length and content.
The message noted Mr Daniels’ involvement with the investigation into the Croydon tram crash, which was not included in the public statement.
It read: “And as head of our resilience functions, Leon has provided leadership and support at difficult times.
“The catastrophic tram derailment at Croydon demonstrates this and, like all of us, Leon has worked tirelessly to find out what went wrong and to minimise any chance of something like this happening again.
“Leon will continue to assist with the investigations and any further changes to technology or processes.”
Mr Brown also said he will “now consider the future structure” of surface transport.
A spokesman for TfL said the difference between the statements was because of “brevity” in needing to issue a statement about his departure.
He added that the restructure of surface transport would be included in the cost-cutting review of TfL’s organisational structure, announced last year.
Both Mr Brown and Mr Daniels previously proposed to not receive their annual bonus for this financial year because of the tram crash.
TfL has commissioned its own independent investigation into the Croydon tram crash, alongside other probes by the RAIB, the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) and the British Transport Police (BTP).
The RAIB is investigating underlying management and regulatory factors including the monitoring and review of safety on the Croydon tram network.
Tram drivers had until Monday (September 18) to vote on whether they want to take industrial action over a new safety device installed in trams, with the ASLEF union claiming staff were not consulted on the introduction of a new device.