Tramlink is a light rail system in south London, England. It began operation in May 2000 as Croydon Tramlink, and originally served the London Borough of Croydon. The service is operated by London Tramlink, an arm of Transport for London (TfL).
Tramlink serves seven National Rail stations and has one interchange with the London Underground, at Wimbledon station for the District Line, and one with London Overground, at West Croydon for the London Overground previously East London Line; one of the factors leading to its creation was that the London Borough of Croydon has no London Underground service.
Tramlink runs 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 section of alignment, though not track, shared with a third rail electrified Network Rail line.
In 1996 Tramtrack Croydon Limited (TCL) won a 99-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract to design, build, operate and maintain the Tramlink system. TCL was a partnership comprising First Group, Bombardier Transportation (the builders of the system's trams), Sir Robert McAlpine and Amey Construction Ltd (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.
TCL subcontracted the operation of the system to CentreWest Buses, now part of First London.
Former lines re-used 
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.
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, which is 500 metres west of the now-demolished Addiscombe railway station. At Woodside the old station buildings still stand disused, and the original platforms have been replaced by accessible low platforms.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 follows the old single-track British Rail route for the most part, which was closed on 31 May 1997 so that it could be converted for Tramlink. Within this section, from near Phipps Bridge to near Reeves Corner, route 3 follows the Surrey Iron Railway, giving Tramlink a claim to the one of the world's oldest railway alignments – Tramway Path beside Mitcham tram stop had its name long before Tramlink. A partial obstruction of the route near this point has necessitated the use of interlaced track.
A Victorian footbridge beside Waddon New Road was dismantled to make way for the flyover that takes Tramlink 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.)
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. 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.
In October 2008 TfL introduced a new colour scheme to the vehicles, using the blue, white and green of the routes' symbol on TfL maps, to distinguish the trams from its buses operating in the area.
Current system 
The tram stops have low platforms, 35 cm (14 in) above rail level. Stops are unstaffed and have automated ticket machines. In general, access between the platforms involves crossing the tracks by pedestrian level crossing. There are 39 tram 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 pavement is integrated with the tram stop.
Tramlink uses some former main line stations on the Wimbledon–West Croydon and Elmers End–Coombe Road 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 as part of 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 are 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 had 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.
Tramlink is not shown on the standard tube map, but is shown on the "London Connections" map. The original route structure was Line 1 Wimbledon to Elmers End, Line 2 Croydon to Beckenham Junction, and Line 3 Croydon to New Addington. On 23 July 2006 the route 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, a new route from Therapia Lane to Elmers End, numbered as route 4, was introduced.
Route 1 (lime) 
Route 2 (lime) 
Route 3 (green) 
Route 4 (bottle green) 
Change in Route Colours 
When TfL took over operation and ownership a new network map was designed, combining Routes 1 and 2 as one service, coloured "Trams Green" (lime). (Originally, Line 1 was coloured yellow, Line 2 red, and Line 3 a darker (District line) green.) Trams from Elmers End on Route 1 change their numbers in central Croydon to Route 2 (Beckenham Junction) and do the reverse when working in the other direction, however this is likely to change in light of the introduction of Route 4.
Fares and ticketing 
As part of the TfL network, all TfL Bus Passes are valid on Tramlink – as are Travelcards that include any of zones 3, 4, 5 and 6.
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 located within the National Rail and London Underground station.
Rolling stock 
Tramlink is operated with a total of 30 vehicles. The original fleet comprised 24 articulated low floor Flexity Swift CR4000 trams built by Bombardier Transportation in Vienna. The trams are 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, including a repaint into a new livery.
As of September 2009[update], it was reported that four more trams were planned, and to avoid the extra costs of a short production run, Tramlink was seeking to lease these from Edinburgh Trams, where the construction of new track and depot is facing long delays, but the rolling stock was due for delivery from early in 2010. The Edinburgh Tram will be manufactured by CAF of Spain. To accommodate the extra services, some sections of single-track line may be doubled.
In January 2011 Tramtrack Croydon began tendering for the supply of an additional 10 new or second-hand trams for Tramlink to be supplied from the end of summer 2011. The trams will be used between Therapia Lane and Elmers End. 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. They are to enter service in spring 2012.
Future developments 
Projected extensions 
The Mayor's Transport Strategy for London states that extensions to the Tramlink 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" and sought initial views on the viability of a number of extensions by summer 2002.
An initial review of potential Tramlink extensions has been prepared and discussed with interested parties. TfL now wishes to carry out initial development and evaluation work on the following routes:
|Sutton Town Centre/Station – Wimbledon||Through St Helier, Morden and Morden Road (including via St. Helier Hospital and direct routes and routing variants within Sutton Town Centre)|
|Sutton – Tooting||Through St Helier and Mitcham (including routing variants via Mitcham Junction and direct)|
|Mitcham Junction – Mitcham town centre||Through Mitcham Common|
|Central Croydon – Coulsdon||Through Purley/Purley Station and could involve a Park and Ride scheme|
|Central Croydon – Brixton||Through Thornton Heath, Norbury, Streatham and Streatham Hill as well as past Mayday Hospital|
|Harrington Road/Beckenham Junction – Crystal Palace||Various route options including (below)|
- from Harrington Road and Birkbeck
- from Church Street and Wellesey Road
- from Reeves Corner and West Croydon
- from Wimbledon (follows Thameslink to Sutton)
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 that suggest bringing Tramlink to Sutton town centre. The first of these, proposing operations principally between Wimbledon and Sutton, was in view even before Tramlink opened – the trams were delivered with destination displays for this as "line 4" already included on their destination blinds.
Extension D / Route 5 
|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. The proposed route links 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. Following recent consultation the off-street option is favoured, with trams running along existing railway as far as Crystal Palace Station, and then running 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, 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 Tramlink 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 arrive at Wimbledon a new terminus will need to be created. Diverging from the present Croydon 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 that Tramlink ought to serve, 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 presently served by a number of busy bus services and would give Tramlink patrons direct interchange 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.
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 the existing Tramlink. Were "line 4" to be 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. Some commonality would be enjoyed here with the short separate proposal to provide a spur from Mitcham Junction to Mitcham town centre. From here, the Tooting projection would seek to use the pedestrianised town centre section 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 
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.
To the south of Croydon, the proposal is for the new route to diverge from the existing central Croydon loop and use a highway alignment, probably using 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. However, finding a good alignment will be more difficult south of Purley, where Brighton Road is the A23 trunk road.
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.
Other extensions 
Work currently commissioned will also check out proposals to extend Tramlink 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 for these proposals.
Accidents and incidents 
On 7 September 2008 a bus on route 468 collided with tram 2534 in George Street, Croydon, and one person was killed. A BMW car was also involved. The victim was thought to have been a pedestrian waiting to cross the road, but it later transpired that he was a passenger thrown through the upper front window of the bus. The driver of the bus was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
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.
On 8 August 2011, sections of the track and overhead line equipment between Reeves Corner and Church Street were severely damaged by fire when the House of Reeves store 40 metres away was set alight during the riots in London. Tramlink services were suspended when rioting and looting began in the area at around 21:30. The fire was at the junction between the lines to Reeves Corner, Church Street and Centrale tram stops, meaning that all trams were blocked from getting into Croydon from the west.
On 17 February 2012, a tram derailed at East Croydon station, causing major delays.
Onboard announcements 
See also 
- "Transport for London -London Tramlink". Tfl.gov.uk. 30 May 2000. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- "TfL announces plans to take over Tramlink services". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 12 April 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
- "Map of current system using existing and former British rail lines". This is Local London. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
- Railway Magazine (IPC Media) 148: 51. 2002. ISSN 0033-8923.
- "Flyover 1". Transport-of-delight.com. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
- Wright, Andrew. "PRESTIGIOUS NATIONAL AWARD PLAQUE INSTALLED AT CORFE CASTLE ON 26th OCTOBER 2008". Swanage Railway. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- 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.
- "Statement of Accounts for the Year Ending 31 March 2008". Transport for London. 25 June 2008. p. 71, para. 30. c). Retrieved 27 June 2008.[dead link]
- Kottegoda, Maheesha (9 October 2008). "It's green for go at Tramlink". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
- "End of an era as Croydon's last red tram turns green".
- Truman, Peter (9 September 2009). "Scottish trams diverted to Croydon". Croydon Guardian. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
- "Preparation and Procurement...Tram Vehicles". Edinburgh Trams: The story so far. Transport Initiatives Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 September 2009.
- Staff writer (1 April 2009). "Hunt for trams in Europe as passenger numbers soar". Railnews. Retrieved 2 April 2009.
- "London Tramlink seeks bids for additional trams". Railway Gazette International. 31 January 2011.
- Rail Magazine page 16, 'News in Brief – New Trams for Croydon' Issue 663, 9th – 22 February 2011
- "Stadler wins London Tramlink tram order". Railway Gazette International. 18 August 2011.
- "London Tramlink prepares to put new trams into service". Railway Gazette International. 15 February 2012.
- London Dockland and Croydon Tramlink Extensions[dead link]
- Crystal Palace extension options to reach the Parade PDF
- Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace[dead link]
- Proposals to extend the Tramlink system Always Touch Out
- "South London Trams – Transport for Everyone – The case for extensions to Tramlink" (PDF). South London Partnership. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
- "Tramlink Extensions". Croydon Tramlink – The Unofficial Site. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
- "Tram network prepares to spread its wings across southern region". This is Local London. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
- "Man killed in bus and tram crash". BBC. 7 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
- "Man dies after horrific bus and tram pile-up". The Daily Mail. UK. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
- "Bus driver charged over Croydon death crash with tram". thisiscroydontoday.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
- Wilson, Cherry (2 December 2009). "Bus driver found guilty of causing passenger's death". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- Justin Davenport (15 November 2010). "Boy, seven, crushed by tram as he crosses tracks on way to school". Evening Standard.
- "Croydon woman dragged under tram in serious condition". This Is Local London. 5 April 2011.
- "Trams delayed after derailment at East Croydon". Croydon Guardian. 17 February 2012.
- "Tramlink celebrates its seventh birthday". Retrieved 3 February 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Tramlink|
- "London Trams". Transport for London. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- Parascandolo, Stephen. "Croydon Tramlink – The Unofficial Website". Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- "London Croydon Tramlink Underground Real Distance Map". City Rail Transit. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
- Current network map