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"Shock! There we were at Croydon."

- A Flight
Charles Dickens

LogoCroydon Tramlink

A Modern Light Railway

[last modified 2014-08-01]

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History
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Dates
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Features
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Services
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Topology
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Layout
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Depots
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Connections
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Rolling stock

History

Croydon Tramlink is a new light railway in the south of London, involving a mixture of dedicated alignment and on-street running.

The Croydon area has good rail service to and from inner London, but the non-radial arrangements are poor - there is not even rail service between the two main stations in Croydon. Furthermore, demographic changes and poor planning mean that there is no rail service at all to some populous areas such as New Addington.

To build the route two National Rail lines - from Wimbledon to West Croydon and from Addiscombe to Elmers End - were closed in 1997 and taken over; the NR route from Woodside to Selsdon was also used. One track of the (then) National Rail line from Birkbeck to Beckenham Junction was also taken over, with main line services reduced to a single track. Elsewhere the system runs along streets, particularly in central Croydon, or on new alignments beside main roads or through parks.

The Wimbledon to West Croydon line was opened by the Wimbledon & Croydon Railway in 1855, and has remained in service ever since, being absorbed into the LBSCR, and thus into the SR and BR. Part of the route was previously used by the Surrey Iron Railway - a horse-drawn goods route that was one of the first public railways in the world and the first to be sanctioned by Parliament. Its Act was passed on 1801-05-21, the line opened on 1803-07-26, and it closed on 1846-08-31.

The Addiscombe to Elmers End line started life as a pair of branches from the "mid-Kent" line (an ironic name, because most of it is in Surrey) to Hayes, one to Addiscombe and another to Selsdon. The Mid-Kent Railway was absorbed into the SER in 1864, the same year that the Addiscombe branch was opened. The Selsdon branch started life as the Woodside & South Croydon Railway, an SER and LBSCR joint venture.

The Birkbeck to Beckenham line is still part of the network of lines around south London. This section was opened by the West End of London & Crystal Palace Railway as a branch from Crystal Palace to Bromley. It ended up as part of the LCDR, and hence eventually BR; Eurostars used to run beside a short section of this line at Beckenham Junction on their way to the Channel Tunnel.

Dates

[WEoL&CPR] is the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway (see above).

key to symbols

1839-06-05 % West Croydon [LBSCR]
1841-07-12 % East Croydon [LBSCR]
1855-10-22 [3] Wimbledon to [Roman Way underpass] opened [Wimbledon & Croydon Railway]
+ Morden Road, Mitcham, Beddington Lane
1857-01-01 [0] [Penge Junction] to Beckenham Junction opened
1858-05-03 0 [Beckenham Cemetery Junction] to [Penge Junction] opened [WEoL&CPR]
1864-04-01 [0] {Woodside} to Elmers End opened [Mid-Kent Railway]
1868-10-01 + Merton Park, Mitcham Junction
1871- + Woodside
1885-08-10 [0] Coombe Road to Woodside opened [SER]
1906-09-01 + Bingham Road
1915-03-14 - Bingham Road
1916-12-31 Coombe Road to Woodside closed [SE&CR]
1930-03-02 + Birkbeck
1930-07-06 + Waddon Marsh
1935-09-30 [1] Coombe Road to Woodside reopened [SR]
+ Bingham Road
1983-05-13 Coombe Road to Woodside closed [NR]
1997-05-31 Wimbledon to [Roman Way underpass] closed
1997-05-31 Woodside to Elmers End closed

2000-05-10 Tramlink opens
[13] [Wellesley Road divergence] to New Addington via West Croydon (re)opened
X Centrale, Dingwall Road, Coombe Road
2000-05-23 [8] Sandilands to Beckenham Junction (re)opened
X Bingham Road
2000-05-30 0 Arena to Elmers End reopened
13 Wimbledon to [Tamworth Road Junction] (re)opened
0 [Reeves Corner east divergence] to [Reeves Corner west divergence] opened
2004-07-30 Arena to Beckenham Junction closed (maintenance work)
2004-08-28 4 Arena to Beckenham Junction reopened
2005-03-18 Sandilands to New Addington closed (maintenance work)
2005-04-04 [0] Sandilands to Lloyd Park reopened
2005-04-11 5 Lloyd Park to New Addington reopened
2005-07-22 Addington Village to New Addington closed (maintenance work)
2005-09-05 ? 2 Addington Village to New Addington reopened
2005-12-11 + Centrale
2009-07-22 East Croydon to Sandilands closed (maintenance works)
2009-08-01 2 East Croydon to Sandilands reopened
2009-08-02 Reeves Corner to East Croydon (via both alignments) closed (maintenance works)
2009-08-10 East Croydon to Sandilands closed (maintenance works)
2009-08-11 5 Reeves Corner to Dingwall Road (via both alignments) reopened
2009-09-01 2 East Croydon to Sandilands reopened
2009-09-06 - Dingwall Road
2009-09-07 0 (Dingwall Road) to East Croydon reopened
2010-08-20 Reeves Corner to East Croydon (via both alignments) closed (track replacement)
2010-08-31 [5] Reeves Corner to East Croydon (via both alignments) reopened
2013-08-18 Wandle Park to Centrale and Church Street closed (track replacement)
2013-08-29 [1] Wandle Park to Centrale and Church Street reopened
2013-12-04 Sandilands to New Addington closed (engineering work)
2013-12-09 [3] Sandilands to Addington Village reopened
2013-12-13 2 Addington Village to New Addington reopened
2014-05-23 Addiscombe to Elmers End and Beckenham Junction closed (bridge replacement)
2014-06-02 7 Addiscombe to Elmers End and Beckenham Junction reopened

Distances

Tramlink uses two separate distance systems. One measures distances from a central point within East Croydon station; these distances are shown on - for example - catenary support masts. The other uses a number of separate zero points, indicated by prefixes.

Since neither system is ideal for describing a single system, this page uses a third system. The zero point in the first system is designated as 20.000km from an arbitrary zero location. Locations in the other two systems can be converted to this system by adding an offset as follows:

Distances from East Croydon
Section Offset
Wimbledon to Tamworth Road Junction 19.265 increases westwards
Tamworth Road Junction to central point 20.000 increases westwards
East of central point 20.000 increases eastwards
Distances with prefix codes
Prefix Section Offset
A Addiscombe branch 21.324
B Arena Junction to Beckenham Junction 23.713
C Sandilands Junction to Arena Junction 21.194
E Elmers End branch 21.329
W Wimbledon branch 8.575
CE Eastbound/single track of on-street section 18.072
CW Westbound track of on-street section 18.119 west of Church Street
18.874 east of Church Street
CC Reeves Corner chord 19.146 increases westwards
CC Centre track at East Croydon 19.964

Features

Of the approximately 28km total length, 17km is on converted or abandoned main-line alignment, 3km is street running, and 8km is on new alignments, mostly beside roads.

Between Reeves Corner west divergence and Wellesley Road divergence the two directions follow different alignments. The eastbound runs via West Croydon while the westbound takes a shorter route via George Street. There is a chord to allow trams to turn from westbound to eastbound at Tamworth Road Junction, but no chord at Wellesley Road divergence.

The line is double track except for single track on the separate alignments between Reeves Corner west divergence and Wellesley Road divergence (the chord line is also single), on the following sections (except where stated, the named stations are not on single track):

8.710 8.894 Wimbledon station
10.709 11.424 Morden Road to Phipps Bridge
12.652 13.598 Mitcham to Mitcham Junction (due to be doubled during 2012)
13.787 14.642 Mitcham Junction to Beddington Lane
17.675 18.119 flyover between Wandle Park and Reeves Corner
28.238 28.309 just west of New Addington
23.878 24.615 Elmers End branch and station
24.904 26.013 Harrington Road to Avenue Road
26.163 26.689 Avenue Road to a loop east of Beckenham Road
26.831 27.808 Beckenham Road loop to Beckenham Junction

and for two short sections of interlaced track: from 12.369 to 12.466 past a new retaining wall west of Mitcham station, and from 19.105 to 19.146 west of Church Street to keep the junction points further away from a busy road junction.

There are plans to double all of the sections between Wimbledon and Reeves Corner.

Slab track rather than conventional ballasted track is used from 18.074 to 21.057 and from 28.262 to 28.340.

The line is electrified using overhead catenary at +750 V, with return through the running rails.

Being a tram system, signals are only used to guard junctions, road crossings, and single line and interlaced sections. Of the 50 pairs of points outside the depot, only 9 are normally facing and therefore motored; these are fitted with indicators to allow the driver to check the automatically-set route. The remainder are sprung and drivers carry levers to operate them in emergencies.

Services

The announced pattern of services is:

Route West terminus East terminus Frequency
Daytime Evening/Sunday
1 Croydon loop Elmers End 4 tph 4 tph
2 Croydon loop Beckenham Junction 6 tph 4 tph
3 Wimbledon New Addington 8 tph 4 tph
4 Therapia Lane Elmers End 4 tph -

This pattern came into use on 2012-06-24 when Line 4 was opened and the Line 1 daytime service reduced in frequency.

Until 2006-07-23, Wimbledon was served by line 1 (and also line 2 evenings and Sundays), while Line 3 used the Croydon loop.

Minimum running times from East Croydon are:

Beckenham Junction 16 minutes
Elmers End 10 minutes
New Addington 18 minutes
East Croydon (around the loop) 11 minutes
Wimbledon (eastbound) 26 minutes
Wimbledon (westbound) 23 minutes

Topology

                         /-C----\                   /--------B
                         |      |                  /
                         |      |           /-----A---E
                         |      \          /
    W--------------------*---G---*-E----S-*
                                           \
    <= West  East =>                        \------------N

A = Arena
B = Beckenham Junction
C = West Croydon
E = Elmers End
G = George Street
N = New Addington
S = Sandilands
W = Wimbledon

Layout

Details of on-street and verge running are shown in <...>. Each item shows the start of a new section of route, which continues on the same street until a new <...> item is shown. The track location is shown as:

R: roadway
C: central reservation
En: separate alignment on north edge
Es: separate alignment on south edge
Ew: separate alignment on west edge

The network spreads across zones 3 to 5, with the 3/4 boundary crossing between Merton Park and Morden Road and the 4/5 boundary crossing in the vicinities of Ampere Way and Arena stations. Internally the system is divided into three zones: 3, "W", and "E", with the boundary between the latter two lying between Wandle Park and Reeves Corner. Stations on the NR network are shown with their normal fare zone, while tram-only stations are shown with their internal zone.

At present the zones are not used - flat fares apply throughout the network (including change of tram when required for a journey). Travelcards valid in any of zones 3 to 6 may be used.

key to notation

Locations are mostly listed down the page in the eastbound direction. Between Reeves Corner west divergence and Wellesley Road divergence the two directions follow separate alignments and are listed down the page in the running direction.

248706 8.710 [v1=2vv3=4vu5=6ud7=8db9=10T] [Z3] Wimbledon <Separate alignment>
247702 9.177 [OP#] [Z3] Dundonald Road
251698 9.800 [OP#] [Z3] Merton Park
257693 10.605 [OP#] [ZW] Morden Road
265687 11.559 [CP#] [ZW] Phipps Bridge
268684 11.942 [CP#] [ZW] Belgrave Walk
273680 12.598 [OP#] [ZW] Mitcham
283675 13.715 [=#WE#=1ud2=] [Z4] Mitcham Junction
283675 13.736 <Flyover crossing NR line>
286675 14.096 <Separate alignment>
293672 14.788 [OP#] [ZW] Beddington Lane
300670 15.675 [staff halt for depot]
302668 15.846 [OP#] [ZW] Therapia Lane
306664 16.375 [OP#] [ZW] Ampere Way
311658 17.096 [OP#] [ZW] Waddon Marsh
314655 17.595 [OP#] [ZW] Wandle Park
316655 17.717 <Flyover crossing NR line>
318657 18.043 <R: Waddon New Road>
317656 18.119 [end of single track]
318657 18.150 [Roman Way underpass] <R: Cairo New Road>
319656 18.254 [WE=] [ZE] Reeves Corner
319656 18.319 [Reeves Corner west divergence]
Eastbound line only; westbound follows a different alignment
319656 18.350 [Tamworth Road Junction] <R: Tamworth Road>
320657 [=E] [ZE] Centrale
321660 18.802 [London Road] <R: Station Road>
322661 18.935 [=E] [Z5] West Croydon
323662 19.094 [Station Road corner] <C: Wellesley Road>
324658 19.519 [Lansdowne Road] <R: Wellesley Road>
325657 19.588 [=E] [ZE] Wellesley Road
325656 19.761 [Wellesley Road divergence] <R: George Street>
Both directions
327656 19.91 [WE=] [Z5] (Dingwall Road)
328657 20.025 [W=BE= #] [Z5] East Croydon
329657 [Cherry Orchard Road / NLA tower] <R: Addiscombe Road>
333657 20.527 [=WE] [ZE] Lebanon Road (w/b)
334657 20.594 [WE=] [ZE] Lebanon Road (e/b)
336657 [Chepstow Road] <Es: Addiscombe Road>
337657 20.956 <Separate alignment>
338657 21.085 [OP#] [ZE] Sandilands
340656 21.194 [Sandilands Junction w/b]
340656 21.200 [Sandilands Junction e/b]
340655 21.380 [Woodside Tunnel north portal]
338653 21.630 [vent between Woodside and Park Hill Tunnels]
338652 21.748 [vent between Park Hill and Coombe Road Tunnels]
337651 21.892 [Coombe Road Tunnel south portal]
335645 22.50 (Coombe Road) <En: Coombe Road>
337645 22.684 [OP#] [ZE] Lloyd Park
342644 23.18 <Through woodland>
352640 24.270 [OP#] [ZE] Coombe Lane
355639 24.608 [Coombe Lane level crossing] <Es: Gravel Hill>
363635 25.668 [OP#] [ZE] Gravel Hill
364635 25.768 [Gravel Hill level crossing] <En: Gravel Hill>
367635 25.742 [Addington Park roundabout] <En: Kent Gate Way>
368636 26.137 [Kent Gate Way eastbound carriageway level crossing] <C: Kent Gate Way>
369637 26.401 [Kent Gate Way westbound carriageway level crossing] <Cross-country>
370637 26.499 [OP#] [ZE] Addington Village
371636 26.677 <Ew: Lodge Lane>
376631 27.372 [OP#] [ZE] Fieldway
378626 27.81 <C: Parkway>
379625 28.050 [OP#] [ZE] King Henry's Drive
381622 28.435 [V=V #] [ZE] New Addington

Westbound line only; eastbound follows a different alignment
In this section locations are listed down the page in the westbound direction
325656 19.761 [Wellesley Road divergence] <R: George Street>
324655 19.568 [=W] [ZE] George Street
323655 19.463 <R: Crown Hill>
322655 <R: Church Street>
320655 19.178 [=W] [ZE] Church Street
320655 19.146 [Church Street Junction]
319656 19.105 [Reeves Corner east divergence]
319656 19.054 [Reeves Corner west divergence] <R: Cairo New Road>
319656 18.989 [=EW] {Reeves Corner}

Chord line; in this section locations are listed down the page in the direction of running
320655 19.146 [Church Street Junction] <R: Church Street>
319656 19.105 [Reeves Corner east divergence] <R: Tamworth Road>
319656 [Tamworth Road Junction]

340656 21.194 [Sandilands Junction w/b]
340656 21.200 [Sandilands Junction e/b]
341661 21.8 (Bingham Road)
341662 21.913 [OP#] [ZE] Addiscombe
343668 22.525 [OP#] [ZE] Blackhorse Lane
345669 22.70 [Woodside Junction]
347671 22.931 [OP#] [ZE] Woodside
352676 23.642 [OP#] [ZE] Arena
352677 23.705 [Arena Junction]
356682 24.53 [Elmers End Junction]
357683 24.615 [=3du2=1B] [Z4] Elmers End

352676 23.642 [OP#] [ZE] Arena
352677 23.705 [Arena Junction] <Across South Norwood Country Park>
350685 24.775 [OP#] [ZE] Harrington Road <Across rough ground>
349687 25.11 [Beckenham Cemetery Junction] <Beside NR line>
353689 25.531 [=Bb= #] [Z4] Birkbeck
357693 26.100 [=WE= b #] [ZE] Avenue Road
362696 26.666 [=Bb] [ZE] Beckenham Road
366698 27.2 [-] [Penge Junction]
373698 27.741 <Station forecourt>
373698 27.893 [V=V #] [Z4] Beckenham Junction

Depots

Therapia Lane depot is on the south side of the track west of Therapia Lane station, with access from both ends. It lies on the original BR alignment with the tram line diverted around it.

Connections

There are no connections to other lines.

Rolling Stock

The line is served by 24 Bombardier CR4000 articulated trams. Numbers run from 2530 to 2553, following on from the last of the old London trams (number 2529). 6 Stadler Rail Variobahn trams (numbers 2554-2559) are currently being delivered.

Links

Other information can be found at the official Tramlink site and the late Stephen Parascandolo's unofficial site. On 2007-10-20, tram 2535 was officially named Stephen Parascandolo.

CentreWest, the company operating Tramlink, employs a number of enthusiasts and, of course, has an interest in encouraging new tram routes. As a result, though they are not on the current destination signs, trams have previously been seen with indicators reading:

("Route" 7 refers to the Uxbridge Road tram proposals while "Streatham" refers to a former plan to extend the East London Line to Wimbledon.)


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