Tramlink route 2
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2548 standing at Arena tram stop
|Operator||Transport for London|
|End||Therapia Lane (Restricted service) At other times, this route terminates at West Croydon.|
|Length||6 miles (9 km)|
|Level||Daily (05:00 until 01:00)|
|Frequency||About every 10 minutes|
|Journey time||21-22 minutes|
Tramlink route 2 is one of four tram routes operated as part of the Tramlink network in south London. The route is operated by London Tramlink, part of Transport for London (TfL) under the Tramlink brand.
The whole idea of trams is that they can run along streets with other traffic in areas where there is not enough space for designated track. However, on Croydon’s tram system, there is relatively little street running, this being confined to the town centre area.
Route 2 is perhaps the most innovative of the three Tramlink routes, from the town centre, trams follow route 1 as far as Arena, the section from Addiscombe to Elmers End is along the former alignment of the Mid Kent Line, as explained on the route 1 page.
After Arena, route 2 branches off, taking a sharp left across the South Norwood Country Park to reach Harrington Road, a residential stop at the back of South Norwood. Then after a hard right trams once again use a railway alignment to take the tracks to Beckenham Junction, although in this case it is not a ‘former’ railway alignment, as it is still used by Southern services to London Bridge.
The established line is a branch off the line from Crystal Palace to Croydon, serving an intermediate stop at Birkbeck before terminating at Beckenham Junction. This route does not really fit in with the South London network map, and has seen many changes and cutbacks to the service provided, with a complicated and not very useful service structure.
The line was singled some years ago, and this provided Tramlink with an opportunity to use the other half of the alignment to put in a single track line into Beckenham Junction. There are passing places at Avenue Road and just north of Beckenham Road, these two being additional stops served by Tramlink. At Beckenham Junction there is a twin track tram terminus although this is not used to its full potential.
As on route 1, the single track sections can play havoc with reliability. Beckenham Road and Birkbeck stops are actually on the single track sections, thus unusually having only one platform (Birkbeck being opposite the single platform on the heavy rail line). An anomaly is that trams on the 2 are timed to leave Beckenham Road stop at the same times in opposite directions — which is clearly not possible. In practice trams are rarely exactly on time anyway though, so this is not too much of a problem.
Route 2 is a likely springboard for often-mooted extensions of the Tramlink system to Crystal Palace. If Southern were to close the Birkbeck/Beckenham Junction branch, Tramlink could take over the other track, and by installing a new curve where the line from Harrington Road meets the branch, trams could run along the railway alignment at least as far as Bromley Junction where it joins the main line to Crystal Palace.
Change in route colours
Since Transport for London took over operation and ownership, a new network map was put inplace, changing routes 1 and 2 to lime and showing them as one route, but trams still show on route displays three routes, as trams from Elmers End change numbers in central Croydon to route 2 - Beckenham Junction and do the same when coming from Beckenham Junction.
Tramlink rail lines across South Norwood Country Park
- "London Tramlink". Transport for London. Retrieved 29 March 2012.