Tram 2548 in the current livery at Arena

The tram network as of 2016
Owner Transport for London
Area served Bromley, Croydon, Merton, Sutton
Locale South London
Transit type Light rail tram
Number of lines


Number of stations 39
Annual ridership 27.0 million (2015/16)[1]
Began operation May 2000 (2000-05)
Operator(s) FirstGroup
Number of vehicles 24 Bombardier CR4000
6 Stadler Rail Variobahn
System length 28 km (17 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification Overhead line (750 V DC)
Top speed 50 miles per hour (80 km/h)

Tramlink (all routes)

Beckenham Junction National Rail
Beckenham Road
Avenue Road
Birkbeck National Rail
Harrington Road
Elmers End National Rail
Blackhorse Lane
New Addington
King Henry's Drive
Addington Village
Gravel Hill
Coombe Lane
Lloyd Park
Lebanon Road
East Croydon National Rail
Wellesley Road
George Street
West Croydon East London Line National Rail
Church Street

Reeves Corner
Wandle Park
Waddon Marsh
Ampere Way

Therapia Lane

Therapia Lane depot

Beddington Lane
Mitcham Junction National Rail
Belgrave Walk
Phipps Bridge
Morden Road
Merton Park
Dundonald Road
Wimbledon Template:Ri National Rail

Tramlink is a light rail tram system serving Croydon and surrounding areas in South London, England. It began operation in 2000, the first tram system in London since 1952. It is owned by London Trams, an arm of Transport for London (TfL), and operated by FirstGroup.

The network consists of 39 stops along 28 km (17 mi) of track,[2] on a mixture of street track shared with other traffic, dedicated track in public roads, and off-street track consisting of new rights-of-way, former railway lines, and one right-of-way where the Tramlink track parallels a third rail-electrified Network Rail line.

The network has four lines that coincide in central Croydon, with eastbound termini at Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington, and a westbound terminus at Wimbledon, where there is an interchange for London Underground. The Tramlink is the fourth-busiest light rail network in the UK behind Manchester Metrolink, Tyne and Wear Metro and the Docklands Light Railway.


Main article: Trams in London


Tram on trial in George Street, Croydon in October 1999. The cars were painted in London Transport red and white livery.

In 1990 Croydon Council with London Regional Transport (LRT) put the project to Parliament and the Croydon Tramlink Act 1994 resulted, which gave LRT the power to build and run Tramlink.[3]

In 1996 Tramtrack Croydon Limited (TCL) won a 99-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract to design, build, operate and maintain Tramlink. TCL was a partnership comprising FirstGroup, Bombardier Transportation (the builders of the system's trams), Sir Robert McAlpine and Amey (who built the system), and Royal Bank of Scotland and 3i (who arranged the finances). TCL kept the revenue generated by Tramlink and LRT had to pay compensation to TCL for any changes to the fares and ticketing policy introduced later.[4]

TCL subcontracted operations to CentreWest Buses.

One of the factors leading to its creation was that the London Borough of Croydon has no London Underground service.

Former lines reused

Interlaced track near Mitcham

There are four routes: Route 1 – Elmers End to Croydon; Route 2 – Beckenham Junction to Croydon; Route 3 – New Addington to Wimbledon; and Route 4 – Therapia Lane to Elmers End. Route 2 runs parallel to the Crystal Palace to Beckenham Junction line of the Southern network between Birkbeck and Beckenham Junction – the National Rail track had been singled some years earlier.[5]

From Elmers End to Woodside, route 1 and route 4 (and route 2 from Arena) follow the former British Rail branch line to Addiscombe, then diverge to reach Addiscombe tram stop, 500 metres (1,600 feet) east of the demolished Addiscombe railway station. At Woodside the old station buildings stand disused, and the original platforms have been replaced by accessible low platforms.

From Woodside to near Sandilands (routes 1, 2 and 4) and from near Sandilands almost to Lloyd Park (route 3), Tramlink follows the former Woodside and South Croydon Railway, including the Park Hill (or Sandilands) tunnels.

The section of Route 3 between Wimbledon and West Croydon mostly follows the single-track British Rail route, closed on 31 May 1997 so that it could be converted for Tramlink.[6] Within this section, from near Phipps Bridge to near Reeves Corner, route 3 follows the Surrey Iron Railway, giving Tramlink a claim to one of the world's oldest railway alignments – Tramway Path beside Mitcham tram stop had its name long before Tramlink. A partial obstruction near this point (reinforcement to a retaining wall below a car park) has necessitated the use of interlaced track.

A Victorian footbridge beside Waddon New Road was dismantled to make way for the flyover[7] over the West Croydon to Sutton railway line. The footbridge has been re-erected at Corfe Castle station on the Swanage Railway (although some evidence suggests that this was a similar footbridge removed from the site of Merton Park Railway Station).[8][9]

Buyout by Transport for London

In March 2008, TfL announced that it had reached agreement to buy TCL for £98m. The purchase was finalised on 28 June 2008.[10] The background to this purchase relates to the requirement that TfL (who took over from London Regional Transport in 2000) compensates TCL for the consequences of any changes to the fares and ticketing policy introduced since 1996. In 2007 that payment was £4m, with an annual increase in rate.[4]

In October 2008 TfL introduced a new livery, using the blue, white and green of the routes on TfL maps, to distinguish the trams from buses operating in the area. The colour of the cars was changed to green, and the brand name was changed from Croydon Tramlink to simply Tramlink.[11] These refurbishments were completed in early 2009.

Current system


Tram 2530 leaving Croydon on an Elmers End service in 2004

The tram stops have low platforms, 35 cm (14 in) above rail level. They are unstaffed and have automated ticket machines. In general, access between the platforms involves crossing the tracks by pedestrian level crossing. There are 39 stops, most being 32.2 m (106 ft) long. They are virtually level with the doors and are all wider than 2 m (6 ft 7 in). This allows wheelchairs, prams, pushchairs and the elderly to board the tram easily with no steps. In street sections, the stop is integrated with the pavement.

Tramlink uses some former main-line stations on the Wimbledon–West Croydon and Elmers End–Coombe Lane stretches of line. The railway platforms have been demolished and rebuilt to Tramlink specifications, except at Elmers End and Wimbledon where the track level was raised to meet the higher main-line platforms to enable cross-platform interchange.

Thirty-eight stops opened in the phased introduction of tram services in May 2000. Centrale tram stop in Tamworth Road opened on 10 December 2005, increasing journey times slightly. As turnround times were already quite tight this raised the issue of buying an extra tram to maintain punctuality. Partly for this reason but also to take into account the planned restructuring of services (subsequently introduced in July 2006), TfL issued tenders for a new tram. However, nothing resulted from this.

All stops have disabled access, raised paving, CCTV, a Passenger Help Point, a Passenger Information Display (PID), litter bins, a ticket machine, a noticeboard and lamp-posts, and most also have seats and a shelter.

The PIDs display the destinations and expected arrival times of the next two trams. They can also display any message the controllers want to display, such as information on delays or even instructions to vandals to stop placing objects on the track.


Tram 2545 in original livery at Beckenham Junction in 2001.
Tram 2536 in the second livery at Morden Road, heading towards Wimbledon in 2006.
A tram leaving Croydon towards Wimbledon, going past Reeves Corner in 2009.
Tram 2558 at East Croydon on route 1 in 2013.

Since 1 June 2016 Tramlink has been shown on the principal tube map, having previously appeared only on the "London Connections" map. The original routes were Line 1 Wimbledon to Elmers End, Line 2 Croydon to Beckenham Junction, and Line 3 Croydon to New Addington.[12] On 23 July 2006 the network was restructured, with route 1 from Elmers End to Croydon, route 2 from Beckenham Junction to Croydon and route 3 from New Addington to Wimbledon. In June 2012 route 4 from Therapia Lane to Elmers End was introduced. Monday 4 April 2016, route 4 was extended from Therapia Lane to Wimbledon.[13]

Route 1 (lime)

Main article: Tramlink route 1
Route 1

Then to East Croydon and back as Route 2 to Beckenham Junction 

Route 2 (lime)

Main article: Tramlink route 2
Route 2

Then to East Croydon and back as Route 1 to Elmers End 

Route 3 (green)

Main article: Tramlink route 3
Route 3

Then back to Wandle Park

Then to East Croydon and back to New Addington 

Route 4 (bottle green)

Main article: Tramlink route 4
Route 4

Then back to Wandle Park

Then to East Croydon and back to Elmers End 

Change in route colours

When TfL took over a new network map was designed, combining Routes 1 and 2 as one service, coloured "Trams Green" (lime). (Originally, Line 1 was yellow, Line 2 red, and Line 3 a darker (District line) green.[12]) Trams from Elmers End on Route 1 change their numbers in central Croydon to Route 2 (Beckenham Junction) and the reverse in the other direction, but this is likely to change in light of the introduction of Route 4.

Fares and ticketing

A Tramlink Ticket Machine

TfL Bus Passes are valid on Tramlink, as are Travelcards that include any of zones 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Cash fares and pay-as-you-go Oyster Card fares are the same as on London Buses, although special fares may apply when using Tramlink feeder buses.

When using Oyster Cards, passengers must touch in on the platform before boarding the tram. Special arrangements apply at Wimbledon station, where the Tramlink stop is within the National Rail and London Underground station, where Tramlink passenger must touch in at the station entry barriers then again at the Tramlink platform to inform the system that no tube journey has been made.

Feeder buses

Bus routes T31, T32 and T33 used to connect with Tramlink at the New Addington, Fieldway and Addington Village stops. T31 and T32 no longer run, and T33 has been renamed 433.

Rolling stock

Main articles: CR4000 and Croydon Variobahn

Tramlink is operated with 34 passenger vehicles.[14] The original fleet comprised 24 articulated low floor Flexity Swift CR4000 trams built by Bombardier Transportation in Vienna numbered beginning at 2530, continuing from the highest-numbered tram 2529 on London's former tram network, which closed in 1952. In 2006, the CR4000 fleet was refurbished, with the bus-like destination blinds being replaced by an electronic dot system. In 2009 the fleet was repainted into a new green livery.[15]

In January 2011, Tramtrack Croydon opened a tender for the supply of ten new or second-hand trams from the end of summer 2011.[16] The trams will be used between Therapia Lane and Elmers End.[17][18] On 18 August 2011, TfL announced that Stadler Rail had won a £16 million contract to supply six Variobahn trams similar to those used by Bybanen in Bergen, Norway.[18] They entered service in 2012.[19] In August 2013, TfL ordered an additional four Variotrams for delivery in 2015, for use on the Wimbledon to Croydon link, an order which was later increased to six. This brought the total Variotram fleet up to ten in 2015,[19][20] and twelve in 2016 when the final two trams were delivered.[14]

Tram 2535 (the first to travel on the Croydon network under its own power) carries a nameplate in honour of Stephen Parascandolo, the founder of the unofficial Croydon Tramlink website, who was tragically killed in a road accident at the age of 26.

Class Image Top speed Number Built Fleet Numbers
mph km/h
CR4000 50 80 24 1998–2000 2530–2553
Variobahn[21] 50 80 6 2011–2012 2554-2559
6 2014–2016 2560-2565

Engineering vehicles

Engineers' vehicles used in Tramlink construction were hired for that purpose. In November 2006 Croydon Tramlink purchased five second-hand engineering vehicles from Deutsche Bahn. These were two DB class Klv 53 engineers' trams (numbered 058 and 059 in Tramline service), and three 4-wheel wagons (numbered 060, 061, and 062).[22] Service tram 058 and trailer 061 were both sold to the National Tramway Museum in 2010.

Future developments

Projected extensions

The Mayor's Transport Strategy for London states that extensions to the network could be developed at relatively modest cost where there is potential demand from existing and new development to support concentrated passenger movements, and where Tramlink technology might be cost effective. Proposal 4D7 says that "The Mayor will explore the potential for extending the Tramlink network where doing so could help meet the objectives of the Transport Strategy cost effectively"[23] and sought initial views on the viability of a number of extensions by summer 2002.

Extension Route
Sutton Town Centre/StationWimbledon Through St Helier, Morden and Morden Road (including via St. Helier Hospital and direct routes and routing variants within Sutton Town Centre)
SuttonTooting Through St Helier and Mitcham (including routing variants via Mitcham Junction and direct)
Mitcham JunctionMitcham town centre Through Mitcham Common
Central CroydonCoulsdon Through Purley, Purley Station and could involve a Park and Ride scheme
Central CroydonBrixton Through Thornton Heath, Norbury, Streatham and Streatham Hill as well as past Mayday Hospital
Harrington Road/Beckenham JunctionCrystal Palace Various route options including (below)
Tramlink rail lines across South Norwood Country Park

Other extension proposals include Lewisham, Bromley town centre, Biggin Hill Airport/Village and a local spur/loop to penetrate further into Purley Way retail/industrial park.

Starting in the west, there are two corridors into Sutton town centre. The first, principally between Wimbledon and Sutton, was in view even before Tramlink opened: the trams were delivered with this as "line 4" on their destination blinds.

Extension D / Route 5

Near the summit of line 3, having climbed through the Addington Hills from Lloyd Park.
Route 5 (proposed)

Then back to Penge Road

Then to East Croydon and back to Beckenham Junction or Crystal Palace

Tramlink route 5 is the only extension being formally developed, linking Harrington Road with Crystal Palace, and Crystal Palace with Beckenham Junction, both terminating at Crystal Palace Parade. There were three options on how to get to the Parade: on-street, off-street and a mixture of the two.[24] Following recent consultation the off-street option is favoured, with trams running along existing railway as far as Crystal Palace Station, and then round the western edge of Crystal Palace Park (within the park's perimeter) to the bus terminus near the parade. TfL has stated that due to lack of funding the plans for this extension will not be taken forward,[25] but also says that it is committed to including new proposals for extensions to the tram as part of a future bid to Government.

Extension A

The Sutton to Wimbledon proposal utilises the existing line between Wimbledon and Morden Road, but the cramped terminus inside Wimbledon station is barely adequate for its present function. If another service is to serve Wimbledon a new terminus will be needed. Diverging from the present route, the Sutton line might adopt a segregated alignment within the highway along Morden Road, serving Morden station interchange. It would probably use Aberconway Road to reach Morden Hall Road before using the spacious St Helier Avenue as the direct route to St Helier, Rose Hill. St Helier Hospital is an important local traffic objective, despite the need to deviate from the direct route into Sutton via Angel Hill. A number of variants in Sutton Town centre are to be examined to see how the shopping centre, station and office complex can be accessed. The alignment is served by busy bus routes and would give Tramlink direct with the Northern line at Morden. A south-to-east curve may also be considered at Morden Road to permit direct links from St Helier to Mitcham and Croydon.[26]

In July 2013, Mayor Boris Johnson affirmed that there is a reasonable business case for Tramlink to cover the Wimbledon - Sutton corridor. A map has been released showing the planned route. It would leave the existing route just to the east of Morden Road and head along the A24 and A297 to Rosehill Roundabout, then the B2230 through Sutton town centre, ending at the station. A loop via St Helier Hospital and a possible extension to Royal Marsden Hospital also are shown. Stops would be at Morden Hall, Ivy Lodge, Boxley Road, Langdon Road, Middleton Road, Rosehill Roundabout, St Helier Hospital (on loop), Rosehill Park, Sutton Tennis Centre, Angel Hill, Sutton Green, High Street North, Crown Road (northbound only), St Nicholas Road (northbound only), Throwley Way (southbound only) and Sutton Station[27]

Extension B

The other Sutton proposal, to Tooting, is more ambitious and contains many more challenges than Sutton/Wimbledon link. Apart from workshop/depot facilities and a curve required to link the line into the existing system, this extension would share no infrastructure with it. If "line 4" is realised ahead of this proposal, the Tooting line would have the St Helier to Sutton section in common. North of St Helier, the alignment is likely to fit across parkland and open space to take in the Willow Lane Industrial Estate before serving Mitcham town centre. There would be some commonality here with the short separate proposal for a spur from Mitcham Junction to Mitcham town centre. From here, the extension would seek to use the pedestrianised town centre before sharing the carriageway with all traffic in London Road south of Figge’s Marsh, with room for segregation beyond the junction with Streatham Road. The most difficult leg arises immediately the Merton/Wandsworth boundary is crossed and the most effective way of reaching Tooting Broadway from this point will stir much debate.

North and south from Croydon

A tram travelling on Church Street, Croydon town centre

To the north and south of Croydon are some busy bus corridors, which derive from earlier tram routes. These include the Purley – Croydon – Streatham corridor, which is proposed for conversion to tram operation.[28][29]

To the south of Croydon, the proposal is for the new route to diverge from the central Croydon loop and use a highway alignment, probably South End and Brighton Road, to Purley. Beyond Purley, an extension to Coulsdon will be investigated. As this would be close to the M23 motorway, a possibility would be the construction of a park and ride site. Finding a good alignment will be more difficult south of Purley, where Brighton Road is the A23 trunk road.[29]

To the north of Croydon, it is proposed to use a highway alignment based on London Road. To the south of Thornton Heath Pond, the use of a shared carriageway is a possibility. North of this point the road becomes the A23 again, but there are likely to be some opportunities for trambaan type segregation to Norbury and between Norbury and Streatham, although Norbury is a pinch point. The proposal is to terminate the line at Streatham railway station, providing an interchange to the extended East London Line.[29]

Other extensions

Work currently commissioned will investigate proposals to extend to Biggin Hill, Bromley town centre, Lewisham, and Purley Way. If initial examination shows promise, further work could follow to firm up more detailed routings.[30]

Accidents and incidents

On 7 September 2008, a bus on route 468 travelled through a red traffic signal and collided with tram 2534 in George Street, Croydon. The impact caused the death of a passenger who was reported to have been thrown through the upper front window of the bus.[31][32] The driver of the bus was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving a year later in December 2009 and was sentenced to 4 years in prison.[33]

On 13 September 2008, tram 2530 collided with a cyclist at Morden Hall Park footpath crossing between the Morden Road and Phipps Bridge tram stops. The cyclist sustained injuries and later died.[34]

On 5 April 2011, a woman tripped over and was dragged under a moving tram. She was taken to hospital in a serious condition. She is believed to have been running to catch the tram outside East Croydon Station when she tripped and fell.[35]

On 9 November 2016, tram 2551 derailed on a sharp curved junction 180 metres (590 ft) east from the Sandilands tram stop, killing seven people and injuring at least 50 more. The British Transport Police arrested the driver on suspicion of manslaughter. The cause was under investigation, but was widely reported as excessive speed.[36][37]

Onboard announcements

The onboard announcements are by BBC News reader (and tram enthusiast) Nicholas Owen.[38] The announcement pattern is as follows: e.g. This tram is for Wimbledon, The next stop will be Merton Park.

See also


  1. "Light Rail and Tram Statistics: England 2015/16" (PDF). Department for Transport. 7 June 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2016.
  2. "London Trams". Transport for London. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  3. "Croydon Tramlink Act". 1994.
  4. 1 2 "TfL announces plans to take over Tramlink services". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 12 April 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
  5. "Croydon Tramlink". Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  6. Railway Magazine. 148: 51. 2002. ISSN 0033-8923. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. "Flyover 1". Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  8. Wright, Andrew. "Prestigious national award plaque installed at Corfe Castle on 26th October 2008". Swanage Railway. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  9. Wright, Andrew. "Ex-Strategic Rail Authority Chairman officially opens Corfe Castle's historic Victorian railway footbridge on 28th April 2007". Swanage Railway. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  10. AnnualAccounts for year ended 31 March 2008 Transport for London page 158
  11. Kottegoda, Maheesha (9 October 2008). "It's green for go at Tramlink". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  13. 1 2 "London Tramlink". British Trams Online / Gareth Prior. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016]. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  14. "End of an era as Croydon's last red tram turns green".
  15. "London Tramlink seeks bids for additional trams". Railway Gazette International. 31 January 2011.
  16. Rail Magazine page 16, 'News in Brief – New Trams for Croydon' Issue 663, 9th – 22 February 2011
  17. 1 2 "Stadler wins London Tramlink tram order". Railway Gazette International. 18 August 2011.
  18. 1 2 London Tramlink orders more Stadlet trams Railway Gazette 21 August 2013
  19. "London Tramlink orders four new trams for Wimbledon branch". TfL Website. Transport for London. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  20. "London Tramlink prepares to put new trams into service". Railway Gazette International. 15 February 2012.
  21. "On Track Plant and Construction Traffic". Stephen Parascandolo. Retrieved 10 November 2016]. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  22. London Dockland and Croydon Tramlink Extensions Archived 13 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. Crystal Palace extension options to reach the Parade PDF
  24. Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace Archived 2 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. Proposals to extend the Tramlink system Always Touch Out
  26. Your Local Guardian: London Mayor Boris Johnson tells City Hall there is 'reasonable business case' for extending tram route to Sutton
  27. "South London Trams – Transport for Everyone – The case for extensions to Tramlink" (PDF). South London Partnership. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  28. 1 2 3 "Tramlink Extensions". Croydon Tramlink – The Unofficial Site. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  29. "Tram network prepares to spread its wings across southern region". This is Local London. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  30. "Man killed in bus and tram crash". BBC. 7 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  31. "Bus driver charged over Croydon death crash with tram". Croydon Advertiser. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  32. Wilson, Cherry (2 December 2009). "Bus driver found guilty of causing passenger's death". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  33. "Fatal accident at Morden Hall Park footpath crossing 13 September 2008" (PDF). RAIB. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  34. Miller, Harry (5 April 2011). "Croydon woman dragged under tram in serious condition". This Is Local London.
  35. "Croydon tram: Five dead and 50 injured after derailment". BBC London. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  36. "BTP | Updated statement on tram derailment - Croydon". "British Transport Police". Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  37. "Tramlink celebrates its seventh birthday". Retrieved 3 February 2009.

Further reading

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tramlink.

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/5/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.