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Following on from part 1 which looked at the past, we now concentrate on the recent Tramlink update and look to the future.

A new tram at Wimbledon heading for Elmers End on a training run. Is this a sign of things to come? Thanks to Raji Toyyib for taking this photo.

The Problem of Success

Once TfL gained complete autonomy over Tramlink they were faced with a problem. The system was designed for around 24 million tram journeys a year but the current figure was nearer 29 million, and the standard of service provided did not match the aspirations of either the passenger or TfL itself. Indeed in terms of average passengers carried per tram Croydon was recently identified as the second busiest tram system in the UK and even beats Tyne and Wear Metro light rail. Indeed Manchester Metrolink may come out at number one, but even then only just. Given that in Manchester they sometimes couple the two-car trams together it is probably fair to say that Croydon has the most crowded trams in the UK. The obvious first steps were thus to decide on what pattern of improved service would be desirable, possible and appropriate and then to both acquire some more trams for this service and implement any infrastructure improvements necessary.

The New Trams

The interior of a new Variobahn tram. Note that unlike the existing trams the floor is at the same height throughout its length.

The floor is slightly raised over the wheels but you would hardly notice it.

The only platforms that appear to be modified for the new trams are the ones at East Croydon which are slightly curved as the platforms are built on a bridge. The modification is necessary because of the repositioning of the doors which means that there was not level access via the end doors. The work done is quite crude and can be identified by the yellow hatch marks. Note that the length of the platform was not an issue.

The new trams are an improvement over the older ones and shows how technology has advanced. The main advantage is that the entire tram is low floor, with the only concession made to accommodate this being the slight raising of the floor about the wheels. Being in five sections rather than three, the trams also feel less like a train and more suited to winding their way along the street. Like the older trams, the new designs have three bogies – sections two and four being suspended without any wheels below. The number of door openings are the same and, arguably, are better spaced out. This has partially been made possible by a more compact design for the driver’s cab and means that the passenger doors are distributed over almost the entire length of the tram. Finally they have air conditioning.

A rather neat feature is this red LED strip that warns you that the doors are about to close. When the doors are open they are green. The extensive use of LEDs to supplement the strip lighting gives a much more modern feel.

The Current Service

The service proposed, and which is now a reality, is arguably slightly bizarre. It has the feeling of the best that can be done without a major restructuring of the entire service and it is no secret that TfL would love to increase the frequency on the Wimbledon branch which currently has 8 trams per hour (tph). With a single platform terminus, however, at Wimbledon itself, an increase in frequency all the way to Wimbledon is going to be tricky until a second platform can be provided there. Part of the reason for the desire to increase the frequency must be to offer an improved service to Ampere Way – the stop for IKEA and other major stores in Valley Park – and whilst an improved service from Croydon to Wimbledon was not achievable, as an opening gambit an improved service to Ampere Way was.

It was also probably the case that it was recognised that the potential interchange at Elmers End was not being as effective and passenger friendly as it could be. It does not take a genius to spot that a 5tph service linking to a 4tph (off peak) and 6tph (peak) service is not going to lead to the best, or even consistent, connections. The only realistic way of sorting this out is to provide a sufficient frequency of trams so that timetabling for connections is just unnecessary.

The key to the initial solution was to reduce the current service to Elmers End by one to 4tph, and at the same time to introduce a new 4tph service between Therapia Lane (one stop beyond Ampere Way with a convenient turnback facility at the depot entrance) and Elmers End. At the same time the opportunity was also taken to restore the Beckenham Junction service to 6tph.

The problem now was how to dovetail the new 4tph service in between the 8tph New Addington – Wimbledon service and the existing Elmers End service (now at 4tph) in a way that was workable. Obviously one cannot satisfactorily overlay a 4tph service onto an existing 8tph service and the gaps will inevitably be erratic. Furthermore the line between Sandilands and Arena now has three services. Two are 4tph and one is 6tph. Clearly any attempt at timetabling an regular headway was going to be impossible.

Two Variobahns passing just outside Elmers End tramstop using the newly installed passing loop.

Recent Major Infrastructure Improvements

As well as procuring the new trams, the infrastructure needed to be in place to handle the improved service. TfL had already announced that the improved service would include more trams to Elmers End so it was no surprise that they replaced a cripple siding near Elmers End with a short passing loop on the section of single track between Elmers End and Arena. Doubtless a more flexible solution would be a second platform at Elmers End, but that would be more expensive and require a much longer timescale.

The other main piece of work carried out was to double most of the the long single track section between Mitcham Junction and Mitcham. It was surprising that on the opening of Tramlink this was initially single track, as it is a long unbroken section. Furthermore it was double track to the end of BR days and so the formation, and possibly even serviceable track, was already in place. The rationale for doing this work now is less obvious because the frequency of service over this section has not yet changed. It is more a case of added resilience and ability to recover the service. It does fit in with TfL’s declared intention for the next stage of improvement though.

New double track just east of Mitcham tram stop. Doubling this long section almost the entire way to Mitcham Junction should aid reliability in the short term and service frequency to Wimbledon in the long term.

The benefits so far

Like London Overground the philosophy on Tramlink is not to distinguish between peak hour and inter-peak service. The difference is simply the level of crowding. Certainly one could argue that in peak travel periods the new service achieves its objective in increasing capacity. In inter-peak periods one could also see the benefit of providing a direct service to Ampere Way from all stops from Addiscombe to Elmers End inclusive, even though a change at Sandilands was hardly inconvenient. One could argue that the trams are more frequent along the new route, but with the erratic service there is a high chance that you will wait exactly the same amount of time as you did prior to the new service being introduced.

The next stage

So what next?

The key objective is clearly to get more trams to Wimbledon and indeed TfL have stated this publicly. There is no officially stated policy on how to do it, but it seems highly likely this will be done by extending the new route 4 (Elmers End – Therapia Lane) rather than providing a more frequent service over the entire length of route 3 (Wimbledon – New Addington). If it were the latter then one would have expected some of the new trams to be used for an increased New Addington – Therapia Lane service. Whilst just increasing the frequency of the entire New Addington – Wimbledon service would be the easiest, neatest solution from the passengers’ perspective, it does lead to a massive over-provision on the long New Addington branch that probably cannot be justified.

With regards to upgrading the Wimbledon Branch, nothing can happen without sorting out Wimbledon itself. A few years past there was talk of abandoning the station and terminating in the town centre. Certainly Network Rail would love to get all of platform 10 back, but this has not been mentioned recently so we must presume that there is somehow a plan to somehow squeeze in a second platform.

The view looking west from Phipps Bridge tram stop. This section is crying out to be doubled.

TfL has committed to removing any remaining single track stretches on the Wimbledon route, which isn’t quite the same as as saying it will be double track all the way. Beddington Lane to Mitcham Junction flyover (exclusive) will be easy and is the obvious section to tackle next. Phipps Bridge to Morden Road (exclusive) is a little harder as it involves crossing three small streams that are part of the River Wandle and so some bridge construction will doubtless be involved. No doubt the Environment Agency will take a keen interest in the work. The flyovers over the West Croydon and Mitcham Junction rail lines would cost a fortune to double for very little benefit and can safely be assumed to be off the menu. If nothing else the timescales involved would preclude these as part of any imminent upgrade. A short section of interlaced track at Mitcham has always been regarded as too difficult to sort out as it means removing large concrete blocks which support a weak retaining wall.

That leaves the short section of single track just to the west of Mitcham Junction where the tram route goes under the bridge carrying the A237 above. The suggestion was made years ago that it would be possible to provide a new opening to the south of the existing one and this currently appears to be subject to serious consideration. Although the work would appear to be expensive for a short section of track, it would remove the operating restriction where Mitcham Junction tram stop has single track at both ends of the platforms and effectively makes the stop a passing loop.

Mitcham Junction tram stop looking west towards Mitcham. If rumours are to be believed, instead of swinging right to go under the single available arch, the westbound track will continue straight on and under the bridge approach.

Untangling the service

Readers who can follow the patterns in the recently introduced service are probably thinking that the whole thing has become a complete dog’s dinner with erratic headways and inconsistent connection times. No indication of the proposed eventual service has been officially given so we will take the rare liberty of speculating what might happen. To do so it is necessary to take a step back and look at the entire Tramlink network as a whole.

In essence the problem is to match the service to and from Wimbledon (the western branch) with the branches to the east (New Addington, Elmers End and Beckenham Junction). Services from the East are also capable of going around the town centre loop and returning east again. Services from Wimbledon cannot do this.

We have to make a few presumptions so let’s state these at the outset. We presume that the desired frequencies are:

  • Wimbledon – 12tph
  • New Addington – 8tph
  • Elmers End – 8tph
  • Beckenham Junction – 6tph

The whole thing would be a lot simpler if the Beckenham Junction service were also 8tph, but the route running parallel to National Rail from Birkbeck to Beckenham Junction is single track with a couple of passing places. The worst remaining single track section on the entire network is between Harrington Road and Avenue Road stop. In the middle of this is Birkbeck tram stop which is a single platform serving both directions. It would not be easy to provide a passing loop here due to the tram/rail overbridge at the end of the platform. To reliably provide 8tph on this branch is probably a challenge and unnecessary anyway.

The only real way to provide a regularly spaced service on the bulk of the Tramlink system is to only provide 4 trams per hour between Wimbledon and New Addington. It then follows that to maintain a even interval service of 8tph to New Addington there has to be a 4tph service New Addington – Croydon Loop. That leaves 8tph from Wimbledon which have to go somewhere other than New Addington. It would be possible to split those equally between Elmers End and Beckenham Junction, but with 6 tph to Beckenham Junction overall this would probably lead to a very complex and erratic working timetable. Far more likely is the notion of sending all of these 8tph to Elmers End.

This will of course lead to an erratic service to and from Elmers End but with an additional 6tph between Arena and Sandilands serving Beckenham Junction, the frequencies would be sufficiently intense for it not to matter. The exception to this is Elmers End tramstop itself which would have 8tph but alternating between 5 minutes apart and 10 minutes apart. Funnily enough that is exactly what happens now, and the current timetable gives a feeling that it is really there to pave the way and test various aspects of the ultimately desired service.

If the above description is correct, and bear in mind it is speculation, then it seems likely that some time in the next few years we will see:

Infrastructure improvements

  • An option taken up for four further “Stadtbahn” trams.
  • Plans to provide an extra tram platform at Wimbledon.
  • Further doubling on the Wimbledon branch

A timetable change

  • All Elmers End – Therapia Lane trams continuing to Wimbledon
  • All Elmers End – Croydon Town Loop trams diverted to Wimbledon
  • 4tph (50%) of New Addington – Wimbledon trams diverted to run New Addington – Croydon Town Loop

Looking Further to the Future

Looking further ahead, all political parties support the principle of extending Tramlink to Crystal Palace which would diverge from the Beckenham Junction branch after Harrington Road. If that proposal is developed it will be interesting to see how the indicative service would fit in with any timetable in existence at the time. Even assuming a simple additional service of Crystal Palace – Croydon Loop one has to wonder if Arena – East Croydon can handle an extra 6tph in each direction. That becomes 20tph in each direction as far as Sandilands and 28tph on the short stretch between Sandilands and East Croydon, which crosses the A232 red route. It may be that one of the branches will be reduced to a shuttle service.

Overall, Croydon has been lucky that the pieces were in place to implement a cheap tram system. What started off as a cheap and cheerful system now has issues of capacity and it looks like some expensive infrastructure upgrades are going to be inevitable at some time in the future. Nevetheless those upgrades are probably going to be better value for money than any other rail-based scheme in London. Comparisons with the DLR are inevitable – Tramlink was a solution designed to fit the available space, infrastructure and money rather than one created from the ground up to fit the need. Like the DLR, it has also been an overwhelming success, despite initial hiccups and problems. It will thus be interesting to see if it follows a similar pattern to the DLR in terms of expansion and if, when it reaches 25, it’ll be getting the same kind of plaudits which it will most likely deserve.

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There are 248 comments on this article
  1. Si says:

    I’d considered the Elmers End terminus for line 4 is so that either line 2 or line 4 then gets diverted to Crystal Palace, with modest upping of frequency – an additional 4tph – to bring Elmers End and Crystal Palace to both be 6tph. Does Elmer’s End station itself actually need 8tph?

  2. mr_jrt says:

    One thing that has occurred to me with systems like Tramlink is the strange quandary that comes from having a low-frequency heavy rail option that is poorly used because it has low frequency, but investment can’t be justified due to the poor usage. Conversion to light rail makes expansion of capacity viable, so usage goes through the roof once investment is unlocked. Eventually though, you reach the point where light rail cannot provide enough capacity.

    What is the option then? Reversion back to heavy rail? A hybrid approach?

    I view the Wimbledon Tramlink route as foreshadowing a line close to my heart – the Watford – St. Albans line as they are similar in many ways. It’ll be interesting to see how things pan out with Tramlink!

  3. Rob says:

    I wonder if there’s something that could be done with platform 9 at Wimbledon – maybe if the trams could be quickly turned around they could share with FCC. However probably not straightforward to implement, given they would be mixing a timetabled and untimetabled service (and the number of delayed FCC trains!).

    There’s also a small siding between Dundonald Road and Wimbledon which could perhaps be used as another platform but would involve quite a long walk to get to the gateline.

  4. Andrew Bowden says:

    One option at Wimbledon may be to make use of the double tracking and cripple siding area just outside the station. Bung two platforms in and Network Rail would get platform 10 back. True, it would be a walk from the rest of the body of the station, although there is potential for an additional exit close to the town centre. There may well be just enough space for a third platform if they wanted to futureproof. Interesting challenge getting access from the main station but no doubt do-able.

    It’s not ideal but it would be difficult to imagine fitting street-running or anything in to Wimbledon Town Centre – it’s a nightmare traffic-wise as it is as there’s often little in the way of options for bypassing it.

    Certainly there are other options – some sort of raised platform that straddles the mainline tracks for example (several buildings, the station and the road are essentially on a bridge over the tracks) but that would be an expensive option compared to the relatively simple use of the area just outside the station.

  5. Andrew Bowden says:

    Just spotted in this TfL doc that one of the reasons for double tracking Mitcham/Mitcham Junction is to allow an additional stop inbetween, subject to funding.
    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/Item05-Tramlink-Performance-and-Planning-Update.pdf

  6. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @mr_jrt

    Yes the thought wasn’t lost on me either. And if Tramlink hadn’t have happened would we have got London Overground to Wimbledon with 4 t (trains) ph ? And would it have been well used ?

    I would say as a gut feeling, without any quantative evidence for this whatsoever, that between Wimbledon and Croydon people actually want trams and it wasn’t really just the frequency that was the issue. I think that apart from the frequency the main factors are:

    i) Trams serve central Croydon where are lot of people want to go to or want to travel through. Don’t underestimate the significance of a direct service between Valley Park and the New Addington Estate that can’t really be replicated by trains or any kind of DLR replacement.

    ii) All the stops on Tramlink justify their existence. I can’t really see a rail service or even DLR type service being appropriate for a system with so many stops.

    iii) A lot of places served by Tramlink are places where money is a real issue for the household. Trams are correctly perceived as being as cheap as buses but a better way to travel and rail thought of as more expensive. In particular child Oystercard (Zip) enable the user to travel for free but that is not the case for trains or the DLR.

    iv) The trams are regarded as very user accessible. Arguably trains can be as well but trams have made journeys possible that just aren’t so easy by train. Not only is the tram stop usually closer but it is also more accessible as is the tram itself. I am sure mums with pushchairs and those on motorised scooters have a freedom to travel that they would not otherwise had.

    I just believe that what people want are trams. You and I can think that logically it ought to be replaced by something “better” one day but I think that the only improvement for the future that will be wanted by the users is longer trams.

    @Rob

    Yes Wimbledon station is the big issue. I don’t think it is necessary to add the complication of trying to share the track serving platform 9 with trams and trains. I believe the “Clapham Junction” solution will be possible and is what will happen but I cannot get any official confirmation of this.

    It is known that Network Rail want platform 10 back. They glibly talk about relocating the tram terminus elsewhere (much as they do about getting someone else to take over the Hayes branch or Crossrail taking over Heathrow Express). I wonder if there is an element of politics. Get two tram platforms established at Wimbledon then if Network Rail do manage to succeed in providing an alternative tram solution then it too will require two replacement platforms. I really can’t see Network Rail surrendering any further capacity or allowing a further constraint to flexibility being imposed on them. At the end of the day do you allow something the equivalent of a train two carriages long to displace trains of at least four carriages ? The trains are busy at Wimbledon too ! I think it is another stroke of luck in the Tramlink story that it was conceived at time when rail travel was less popular and British Rail was happy to release platform 10. This was probably in the hope that it would bring more custom to the trains and also increase the chance of Tramlink happening so that they would not be lumbered with the very unprofitable and inconvenient to run Wimbledon – West Croydon service.

  7. Si says:

    Thanks Andrew, that document shows what I thought about line 4 just sat there waiting for Crystal Palace, rather than a wholly new service. Line 1 to Elmers End would be 4tph (as now with line 4 in play), and Crystal Palace would have a 2tph shuttle to East Croydon as well as 4tph Line 4 to Wimbledon.

  8. mr_jrt says:

    @Pedantic of Purley

    I don’t think relocating the platforms outside the station would be so problematic actually….as I mentioned on the Blackfriars article:

    “I don’t think the streets are too great an issue though. Heading up Hartfield Road to the station would remove the need to run along the narrow domestic streets past the houses and car park entrance on Hartfield Crescent. A one-way loop around the Broadway (where there are mostly already bus lanes) then up and along Queens Road, then down Ashcombe Road and back onto the existing alignment to Haydons Road. Alternatively, purchase one of the homes on Queens Road for demolition and you can rejoin the formation much earlier.”

    …though I strongly suspect the inset bay option will be what happens.

  9. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Thanks for the link Andrew. I wish I had this when I wrote the article.

    Yes, Willow Lane stop looks like a serious possibility. The link backs up my understanding that TfL supports it but its message to Merton Council is “You want it, you pay for it”.

    Most interesting of all are the frequency diagrams at the back in the appendices.

    The final one is a diagram as it currently is.

    The penultimate one is a plan of how it would be if the Crystal Palace extension was included. There would be 4 tph fewer to Elmers End and 6 tph to Crystal Palace giving an overall increase of 2 tph Arena – Sandilands. BML2 is looking scarier and scarier. So Elmers End would have a reduced service but I presume it would always be possible to run an Elmers End – Arena shuttle if a more frequent service were needed.

    What is horrible about the Crystal Palace plan is the proposal to retain 8 tph Wimbledon – New Addington which, as I point out in the article, will lead to a distorted service with uneven intervals either on the Wimbledon branch or on the New Addington branch. This does not bode will for the short term future as it suggests that rather than sort the thing out properly TfL are going to just extend the Therapia Lane trams to Wimbledon. This will lead not to a regular 5 minute service on the Wimbledon branch but to a 7½, 4, 3½ (approximately) service interval which is pretty pointless and means that if you turn up at random there roughly a 75% chance that you will wait as long as you did before. Alternatively they could sort out the Wimbledon branch but then the New Adddington branch would have a 5 then 10 minute interval giving 8 trams per hour but not at even intervals which would lead to a deterioration in service. Basically with these frequencies a totally neat solution is not possible but it could be a substantial improvement on what is suggested.

  10. Jules says:

    While services from Wimbledon can’t go round the town centre loop, would it be viable to have them terminate and turn back in the central track at East Croydon?

  11. Greg Tingey says:

    Jues
    Actually happens when out-of-course or emergency working occurs.

    I note the proposed extension to Xtal Pal is right up to the bus station at the top of the hill – an excellent idea.
    The sooner the better, in my opinion.

  12. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Having read the document in more detail:

    • It specifically states that Wimbledon will have a 5 minutes service. This then condemns New Addington to a 5 then 10 minutes service (8 tph). This is the same tph as today but the average waiting time will increase and trams will be unevenly loaded.
    • It talks about double tracking to Beckenham Junction. I cannot believe full-double tracking can economically be done unless the Birkbeck-Beckenham Junction heavy rail line is taken over but certainly there is scope for improvement. A lot of it just requires cutting back the embankment and putting in the track.
    • If the East Croydon tram stop was to be widened as stated then the opportunity exists to run a tram from New Addington and one from another destination to arrive at East Croydon at approximately the same time and permit cross-platform interchange before departing – one for Wimbledon the other for the town centre loop.
    • If an additional platform were to be provided at West Croydon (or East Croydon so that there were two island platforms) the the same thing could happen in the reverse direction.
    • With the above in place you could run:

      i) 6 tph Crystal Palace – Wimbledon

      ii) 6 tph Beckenham Junction – Wimbledon

      iii) 8 tph New Addington – Croydon town centre loop. To change for a Wimbledon tram half of them could have a cross-platform connection as stated above and and an approximately 2½ minute wait four the other half. This could be tweaked a bit to cut it down to 2 minutes.

      iv) Elmers End – Croydon town centre as desired and supplemented if necessary by an Arena – Elmers End shuttle.

  13. Patrickov says:

    Wait… won’t Crystal Palace – Wimbledon via Arena be bloodily-and-half-circularly long? (Crossing BML twice)

    Or is it possible to make a kind of T-junction and introduce a 4tph New Addington – Crystal Palace? That would provide New Addington residents a choice to change rail at Crystal Palace…

  14. Long Branch Mike says:

    Re: the TFL doc’s proposed service schematic (on the last page of http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/Item05-Tramlink-Performance-and-Planning-Update.pdf), they omitted the Overground roundel at Crystal Palace.

    This intermodal link would connect 2 rapidly growing networks, Tramlink & Overground, and should be very popular.

    Anyone know of the planned route to Crystal Palace?

    Is there any possibility of reusing the disused Paxton & Crescent Wood Tunnels at Crystal Palace for possible further extensions to the north?

    I don’t have my London Rail Atlas handy, but I recall this line which includes the Paxton & Crescent Wood Tunnels is disused quite far north, and could re-open up new areas to rail service.

  15. Anonymous says:

    If the tram goes up to the bus station in Crystal Palace, it will leave the current trackbed and rise up an embankment to CP station, going through the existing station entrance (the temporary one that will be removed soon with the station work being done), across the station approach road, and then up the hill (on the edge of CP Park) to the bus station, where it can finish in an alignment suitable for continuing along Crystal Palace Park Parade.

    However the Paxton tunnel is at a far lower altitude on the other side of the parade. I think it would be very difficult to get the tram from the top of the parade down to the tunnel entrance. However the parade is wide and already has bus lanes that could be dual-purposed with a tram track – but that still doesn’t solve the altitude problem.

    Or the protected bat havens in the tunnels.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I also suspect that to fit the single carriage tram ramp up from CP station the entire of platform 1 and 2 would have to be shifted slightly so the tram ramp can go up where Platform 1 is currently. That’s a lot of work on very busy platforms.

    I expect the tram stop would be build besides the CP station end of Ledrington Road.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Ah, I see the plan would be to get the tram to street level by Anerley Road Bridge (http://goo.gl/maps/M7FFk), coming through where the advertising hoardings currently are, and then run the tram by (or presumably partially over as you can see on the street view on the link above) the existing train lines to Crystal Palace station.

  18. Jeremy says:

    Looking at the TfL Tramlink doc linked above, I noticed it says that the Crystal Palace extension would enable double tracking of the route to Beckenham Junction (3.18 (d)) – I know the CP extension at one time included withdrawal of the National Rail CP-BJ service, with conversion of line (fully) to Tramlink (and a Tramlink CP-BJ service) – is this part of the current proposal?

    Looking at a map, from CP going north on the ex LCD CP HL branch would seem (assuming the level issue at CP mentioned can be resolved – it can’t be much worse than getting the tramway up to the Bus Station in the first place) straightforward as far as Honour Oak (former station) – from there continuing along the railway formation would lead to nowhere in particular before hitting an operational railway: the better (at first glance) option would to turn left to Peckham Rye and Peckham – and wasn’t there a proposal to bring trams into Peckham from the North as part of CRT?

  19. James GB says:

    There were two different proposals for the ‘ramp’ up at CP. Going up Anerley Hill was one, but the one they went for last time was round the back of platform 1. I was a bit surprised at that too, but I had a look last week and most of the land there is low rise domestic garages etc. I think you would need to demolish a couple of properties near the road bridge on Anerley Hill but not the whole terrace.

    The CP high level branch is built on fairly extensively except for the bit through Dulwich Woods, past the Horniman Museum and on to roughly Honour Oak station. Even some of that is built on, but there are good, wide, little used roads running parallel that would make good alternatives. The same can be said for the tunnels: if you were determined to restore trams here, you would probably be better off by-passing them with street running. It’s the ideal place for it.

  20. Rational Plan says:

    There was a Modern railways article on the Tramlink a few months ago. It also involved an interview with TFL about tramlink. It quite clear that the Wimbledon branch and it’s station is the first priority followed by the Crystal Palace line.

    For the future it was intimated that a second central Croydon line would be needed between West and East Croydon station and the ideal route would by via the back roads through the office district and coincidently past the new East Croydon station entrance, That would allow some services from the East to go via the new route and avoid the loop.

    After that the most likely extension seems to be Wimbledon to Sutton via St helier as it has lots of nice wide central reservations and grass verges for a tram line to run down. Other short extensions off the Wimbledon line may be considered. The most natural extensions North of Croydon run in to the problem of narrow roads, but a short Southern extension into South Croydon could be possible.

    Bromley also seems to be on the radar but I can’t see an easy off street route, so I’m not sure how that would be done.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Any potential for tram trains? Eg from beckenham junction calling at shortlands and Bromley south before reversing in platform 2 or a new platform by wait rose car park.

    Alternatively an extension from elmers end on road may be better than from beckenham jn as it would avoid the congested low bridge at shortlands station on the a222 and make use of spare capacity at elmers end. 2 options spring to mind at elmers end either via stone park avenue, b251 to Westmorland road or the A214 to Eden park then following the off road cycle route to barnfield wood road and straight over the b road to Westmorland road before turning left into the town centre to call at Bromley south and potentially Bromley north/grove park.

  22. James Bunting says:

    To Anonymous@2127

    Potential for tram trains would be limited for a number of counts.
    1. Conflict with Southern and South Eastern services, as well as freight, in accessing the National Rail tracks at BKJ
    2. Differences in platform height at BKJ, SRT and BMS. A planning principle with Tramlink has always been genuine access for all at all stops, requiring consistency in platform height.
    3. Lack of track capacity due to the amount of existing passenger and freight traffic.
    4. Platform 2 at BMS has at least 6 trains per hour using it for much of the day, with more at peak hours. There is insufficient space beside Waitrose car park for a platform of any description, nor anywhere to provide access, both for the tram train and the passengers. The car park boundary runs up to the abandoned goods siding adjacent to Platform 1.
    5. Where is the traffic demand to justify an extension?

    The options for an extension from Elmers End to Bromley look suspiciously as if they have come from a street atlas. Because of the geography of the Ravensbourne Valley there don’t appear to be any realistic routings that do not require a substantial amount of street running. The roads you have mentioned, in particular Westmoreland Road, are already heavily used and are not particularly wide. Apart from the considerable road engineering to take account of road contours and junctions, there is no space for the provision of tram stops or bus stop lay-bys.

    Before considering any extension in detail the basic question needs to be asked – is an extension needed? The geography of the area means that there is little that an extension of the existing Tramlink network would gain by being extended to Bromley, and little that Bromley would gain by being joined on to the Tramlink network. Journey times would be considerably more than the existing 119 bus for passengers wishing to travel from Bromley Town Centre to Croydon Town Centre. Street running would result in no advantage between Beckenham Junction and Bromley South, and TfL only consider it necessary to provide a 20 minute frequency bus along that stretch anyway. The alternative routing via Stone Park Avenue would save some time but produce little, if any, traffic.

    I have not seen the Modern Railways article that Rational Plan mentions. However, the Mayor’s Office, TfL and others have at times used the term Bromley to mean ‘somewhere in the London Borough of’, rather then’Town Centre’ Hence being told that Bromley was connected to the Overground during the recent mayoral elections. when Crystal Palace would have been more accurate.

  23. Slugabed says:

    ….In fact a faster Bromley-Croydon connection could more easily be made,and probably involving less demolition,and certainly less disruption,by re-instating the Bromley Junction curve…

  24. Greg Tingey says:

    Bromley …
    Except that, assuming a suitable off the main line route could be found, joining Bromley S-to-North & taking over the Grove Park Branch would be a very good idea.
    It’s a long way through Bromley centre on foot, between the stations, and the streets are either: very very wide, or pedestrianised already.
    The difficult bit is that inside the Beckenham Jn / Shortlands / Ravensbourne triangle, population density is low, the physical geography is not helpful, and the roads are narrow & twiddly.
    What that area really needs is for all stations between Herne Hill & Shortlands to go to four-track, i.e. passing loops, whilst leaving the main line double, unless one can justify 4-tracking the long tunnel ( Somehow I doubt that last one!)

  25. timbeau says:

    The problem between Brixton and Shortlands is that although there are already four tracks they follow different routes. (Indeed if you include the original route between Bromley South and Victoria via Crystal Palace there are six tracks for most of the way!) All these routes have stopping services on them, between which the long distance services have to be squeezed. The result is a relatively high concentration of stations in that area for the density of population, and consequently a relatively sparse service at any particular station. However, although overall capacity would certainly be improved by, for example, diverting stopping services from the Kent House route to take the Gispy Hill route, or running Catford loop services via New Beckenham and the Nunhead spur, I can’t see the good people of Sydenham Hill or Beckenham Hill being peresuaded that closure of their local station is a price worth paying for better frequencies at a station further away.

  26. Anonymous says:

    You frequently talk of latent demand – Bromley, for a route to Croydon, is full of it. What I am less clear on is how fast that route would have to be to get a switch in users. The 119 takes ~45 minutes to get to East Croydon from Bromley North, so a tram would have to better that. Alternatively, the 227 to Beckenham Road tram stop and change. I worked in central Croydon for three months and the journey is tiresome compared to into and out of London.

    I think doubling the Birkbeck route may be on the cards – I have heard talk of sorting platform 7 out at Norwood Junction (one new crossover needed at the top of the flydown from CP) which would then render the BKJ service even less useful than it is now, making it ripe for full conversion…

    …and also easy to reintroduce the spur to Kent House with a single tram platform at the south east of the station. Combined with a slight remodelling of the station, making platform 1 the up fast so that using the platform 2 turnback facility doesn’t affect performance as much would make it a usefully connected termination point – Thameslink, Blackfriars, Victoria or even Clapham Junction (Overground) shuttle?!

  27. ben says:

    Regarding the proposals for the crystal palace extention – it originally always mentioned ( and was “sold” ) as including taking over the birbeck rail line to double up, and run to beckenham junction – when the leaflets started arriving, this part of the plan had been quietly dropped. I believe the late ( and much missed ) tramlink guru Stephen Parascando pointed out that most of the birkbeck line to CP was in fact rather well used on the eastern end, so you would somehow have to get a tram through a mile of dense south london housing, although google earth suggests there is plenty of space around Orchard school, that might not be where people would use a tram stop.

    Notwithstanding that, I can vouch that the BJ- Birbeck line is incredibly under-used (the only time I ever remember seeing anyone standing on the BIRBECK platform heading to BJ was the day after the london bombings, when it was being patrolled by a lone WPC ) a double track for the tram would probably bring much improved TPH flexibility for the other bits of the system

  28. Whiff says:

    On the subject of future extensions:-

    Crystal Palace – there seems to be widespread agreement that extending to Crystal Palace is a good idea so what will be the catalyst to finally make it happen. A change of mayor? A change of Government? An economic upturn?

    Bromley – anonymous 10:23 has beaten me to it but I too disagree with James Bunting. Bromley is now the one local urban centre that does not have good connections with Croydon. After all you can now get to Kensington Olympia, Whitechapel or Brighton in about the same time it takes the 119 bus to trundle through West Wickham and Hayes. It’s only about 6 miles between Croydon and Bromley so surely it must be possible to build a tram that does the journey significantly more quickly.

    Morden and Sutton – interesting to note in the TFL doc linked to be Andrew Bowden that a stated aim for extending the trams to Sutton is to provide better connections between Sutton and the Northern Line. If and when that finally happens it will only have taken about a hundred years to correct that particular historical wrong!

  29. James Bunting says:

    Anonymous @ 1023 and Whiff @ 1330

    I would be happy if there was a Tramlink branch from Croydon to Bromley. Yes, there is a sizeable commuter demand from the Bromley area to Central Croydon. With the decline in shopping facilities in Bromley there is also off-peak shopping demand. However, the point I was trying to make was that I didn’t think it would be able to do the journey any faster than the existing bus service because of the geography and therefore not add any value to the network by having the link. Any route would need to link up with the existing network as well as generating traffic in between.

    Most of Tramlink is based on old railway lines or, in the case of Arena to Harrington Road and Lloyd Park to Fieldway, by stretches of undeveloped land. Unfortunately there are no such assets between Beckenham Junction or Elmers End and Bromley. The two towns have always pointed in different directions as far as development is concerned. There is no direct road between the them, with what is generally known as Langley Park in the middle, requiring travel to be either via Beckenham to the north or West Wickham to the south. Indeed, despite the Tilling company having bus operations in both towns from before WW1 the 119 bus linking the two was not introduced until 1939.

    As far as the Crystal Palace extension is concerned it, too, had been my understanding that this would also produce a Beckenham Junction to Crystal Palace service and double track between Harrington Road and Beckenham Junction. I know that Bromley Council had objected to the resultant loss of a peak hour service via Birkbeck (the main time when the service does get used), but I would have thought that with a proper interchange at Crystal Palace this could have been overcome, especially with the journey possibilities onto Overground and a higher frequency than the current service.

  30. Jonno says:

    Could part of the Wimbledon loop be converted to tramlink with far higher frequency which would solve the Wimbledon station capacity problem?

    Trams from Croydon/Sutton could terminate at Tooting, Colliers Wood, Streatham etc

    I recognise that there might be problems trying to provide those interchange connections at Sutton, Streatham Common / Streatham and People would also lose their direct service to Central London which might not go down well either! But worth a thought.

  31. Anonymous says:

    @Jonno

    TfL specifically wants an extension to run as close to St. Helier hospital as possible, so I don’t think that using the loop could work for them.

  32. Taz says:

    Crystal Palace extension now seems to be backed by Boris for 2016 so just needs funding. A new TfL Business Plan is due before year-end which will show what is possible and when for this and the Deep Tube Programme.

  33. Andrew Bowden says:

    @Jonno – there is already a lot of press and politics at the moment about the potential terminating of all Sutton loop trains at Blackfriars (the way some people are talking it’s like a short change of trains is going to severely ruin their lives and send house prices plummeting) so I can’t see converting part of the loop to Tramlink going down well. And then the other question is, what happens to the other part of the loop?

  34. Rogmi says:

    How about:
    Start at Sutton Throwley Way (keep it off Sutton High St), follow the bus route to Grove Road.
    Knock the building down at the Corner of Grove Road and Bridge Road and then down to the start of the loop track to the west of Sutton station.

    Along the loop to Tooting then either:
    Branch off at the junction of Streatham Road – the embankment can be lowered and the road under the bridge raised to normal street level. Then along Streatham Road to the junction with London Road at Figges March.
    Or
    Branch off at the site of Tooting Junction, through Lidl’s car park and join London Road, then along Figges Marsh (although there is a bit of a bottleneck at that section of London Road near Tooting station).

    Then
    From London Road / Streatham Road, round Holborn Way, along Western Road towards Colliers Wood, along Merantun Way (the old main line track) to Morden Road. Past Morden Road station to the roundabout at Morden and then loop round Morden station and back to Morden Hall Road (or just skip Morden station – it’s not far to walk from Morden Hall). Then follow the 164 route from Morden Hall to Throwley Way via the St Helier Avenue dual carriage way.

    There could be an option for a branch off to join Tramlink at Morden Road station. There could also be a terminus at St Helier Hospital if required (fit it in with the new hospital if it’s ever built!) with trains alternating between Sutton and St Helier.

    It would mean people on the loop no longer have acces to London via Streatham, but there will be access at Wimbledon.

    The east side of the loop (via Mitcham Junction and Hackbride) would be unusable because of other main line services using that route, but at least it would give passengers on the Sutton – Tooting side a much improved and regular service!
    :-)

  35. JamesC says:

    Its interesting to have a look at how these sorts of platform issues are overcome in other countries/towns.

    The ‘recently’ upgraded and extended tram system in Istanbul uses similar size/length trams as does the ‘London’ one. Many of their platforms are simply raised areas at the side of the roads with ramps upto to them. For those not on the side of roads (e.g. interchange stations etc) then some of them are again as simple as this, and to save space on many of these ‘non-roadside’ stations their is no entrances/exit to the surroundings to one platform, and travels simply jump off one platform, cross the tracks, and jump up onto the other one! There are usually ramps at one end for wheelchair access as well – They even do this with island platforms as well

    This seems to work quite well and gets rid of the need for over bridges/large construction of entry/exit ways on both sides of the platform, and above all saves space.

    I’m not sure the lawyers would let us get away with it in this country mind you….

  36. stimarco says:

    Re. The “Kent House spur”:

    This is something I’m very familiar with, it being the childhood puzzle that got me interested in the history of the railways. (I grew up just around the corner from the station, in Kings Hall Road.)

    This is one of those railway oddities that came about as a result of the bitter conflicts between the SER and LC&DR. There was never a completed chord here: it was abandoned before completion—the LC&DR started work on it as a spoiler tactic against a rival project to connect to Crystal Palace. (Their original plan was to run trains into the Low Level station via Birkbeck.) A short siding existed on the embankment for a while, but this was abandoned many years ago. The bridge over the access path to the interior of the triangle was already gone by the late 1970s, so that would need to be reinstated too.

    The station building makes adding a bay platform for trams difficult: the only subway linking the platforms runs right through the middle of the station building, so the trams can’t share the Network Rail platforms. (Both the loops are there for very good reasons and NR won’t want to give them up.) So any trams would likely need to terminate in platforms constructed at road level in front of the ticket office, much as they do at Beckenham Junction.

  37. ChrisMitch says:

    @JamesC
    Tram stops are like that here as well.
    Some of the old stations which were completely replaced by trams (cf Mitcham) were rebuilt with low-level platforms and cross-track access to both sides. And the on-street tram stops in Croydon are just glorified bus stops, with (very) raised pavements.
    This is why it is 100% impossible for our trams to share tracks and platforms with trains – there is about a 2-foot difference in platform height!

  38. BarryD says:

    @stimarco
    “Both the loops are there [Kent House] for very good reasons” What are the reasons? There are very few terminators or starters in the timetable. Do slow trains get looped there?

  39. solar penguin says:

    @BarryD
    Yes, slow trains can get looped there to allow late-running fast trains to pass.

  40. stimarco says:

    @BarryD:

    Yes, they’re used to allow fast trains to pass and to keep the timetable resilient. The line offers very few passing opportunities, so removing the loops would not go down well with Network Rail.

    Kent House’s outer platforms are occasionally used as cripple sidings, but are primarily for handling peak services that start / terminate at Kent House as well, allowing some services to skip stops on the way to Beckenham Junction. At least, that’s what happened when I was living in the area up to the late ’90s. I suspect this may have changed with the higher service frequencies. It used to be just 2 tph each way back when I lived there.

    In any case, it’s all moot: that chord was built prior to the construction of Kent House station and could only connect to the Up Loop line now. (And even then, only with a very sharp curve.) It only ever saw a siding and has never been used as a connecting chord. The only reason it’s still standing is probably to screen the housing on Barnmead Road from the allotments on the other side. (For some reason, allotments always seem to smell vaguely of cabbage.)

  41. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t mean give a loop up to form a tram platform – I meant build an independent “station” alongside (a la Mitcham Junction), accessible from outside the station although a path may be necessary. Nice bit of history though stimarco. Network Rail still own a (very) small amount at the Birkbeck end. I have been through the up loop just once in the last year for regulation, and a few more times to loop round a turnback in platform 2. I don’t think I have ever been down the down loop!

    Going back briefly to the bus/tram/train discussion above, look at stop spacing in a typical zone 2-6 area: buses stop every 200-400m, trams every 400-800m and trains 800m to 1600m. Obviously I’m generalising a bit, but I think you can see what I mean. That is why I suggested the chord to Kent House – it’s too far to walk to connect (500m) but would take less than a minute on a tram. The multiple platforms could be reconfigured to give one or two centre turnbacks… hang on, we’re verging on an integrated transport system here…

    I don’t see the point in creating lots of platform loops for the sake of it, but I would suggest four tracking from Kent House to Penge East (inclusive) as you’d create a substantial loop that could allow some reliable timetabling. You may have to nudge Penge East station slightly west as there’s more land nearer the tunnel. While you’re at it, reopen the Penge West northern steps and make the interchange better. Suddenly a faster and practical Bromley to (typically West) Croydon route appears.

  42. timbeau says:

    yet another proposal:

    branching off the current Tramlink route at Morden Road, on street via Morden station and Hillcross Avenue (passing close to Morden South) , Hillcross Avenue (or the edge of Morden Park), Grand Drive and West Barnes Lane to Motspur Park, and then take over operation of the Chessington branch, with an extension over the completed but never-used track bed to Chalk Lane and Chessington World of Adventures.

    (The Chessington branch is very lightly loaded but the need to provide a service on it takes up valuable paths into Waterloo – despite having had the franchise ever since privatisiation started SWT have shown no enterprise whatsoever in extending the line over the unused trackbed* to CWOA, instead expecting visitors to trek the mile or so along the busy A243. Off-season there is scope for a park and ride facility – CWoA has a huge car park and is minutes from the M25.)

    * Built in 1938 as part of a proposed new route to Leatherhead, suspended because of the hostilities and then overtaken by green belt legislation.

  43. stimarco says:

    @Anonymous (11:50PM, 20-SEP-2012):

    My apologies; with all the discussions about the loops, I assumed the idea was to have Tramlink take over the Up Loop, Wimbledon-style. I didn’t think that was an option and the nature of the station building means it’s only possible to add new platforms at track level on the Down side as the subway linking the two islands is in the middle of the station building. (More info here: http://kentrail.org.uk/kent_house.htm ).

    @Greg Tingey:

    Love the 1946 photo of Elephant & Castle, but I can’t help noticing one rather important omission in that initial “starter” tram project: where’s the depot? I can’t see any obvious location for one.

    @timbeau:

    I believe the problem with continuing the extension to Leatherhead is Ashtead Common, which is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There was talk of tunnelling beneath it some years ago, but it’s a lot of work for a railway that passes through so much open countryside.

    Extending to CWOA is certainly technically feasible—I don’t think anyone would deny that—but it would mean building a new station barely a third of a mile away from Chessington South near Chalky Lane. If the line remains as heavy rail, I can only see that happening if Chessington South were to close. If it were to be converted to light rail, retaining both stations would be more viable.

    However, I think the original route via Ashtead Common is no longer viable for either light or heavy rail and it would be better to just continue to Leatherhead alongside the Leatherhead Road (A243), which has ample space for segregated track for most of the run down to the M25. (How you get trams past the M25 and into Leatherhead would be up to Leatherhead Council, but a heavy rail option could have a junction with the existing line just inside the M25.)

  44. timbeau says:

    Chalky Lane is over half a mile from Chessington South, about the same distance as between the two existing Chessington stations.

    As a result of the Green Belt I can’t imagine extension beyond Chalky Lane, or Malden Rushett at the most, would be worth while. And if the only traffic centre to be served is Leatherhead – does that really need a third route to London?

    The great thing about extension to CWoA is that the earthworks ae already there, albeit now covered with 75 years worth of vegetation.

  45. Anonymous says:

    CWoA car park has been used for some years at Christmas for a park & ride bus to Kingston, for shoppers

  46. Long Branch Mike says:

    What’s CWoA?

  47. Whiff says:

    CWoA is Chessington World of Adventures – though it was plain old Chessington Zoo in my day!

  48. timbeau says:

    Sorry – I did spell out Chessington World of Adventures the first time, but that’s several posts ago now. I can go back to using its pre-Zoo (i.e pre 1931) name of Burnt Stub if you prefer!

  49. Fandroid says:

    @timbeau

    taking over the Chessington Branch and extending it to the Zoo (CWoA) certainly has some great attractions, not least the freeing up of 2 paths per hour on the main line. However, I see that Motspur Park has 6tph through the day (peak & off-peak). Might there be a problem in abstracting 2tph (33% service reduction) out of that, especially in the peaks? I don’t know the area or the travelling pattern, so I’m just asking. Also, could the existing 4tph service along the Epsom line absorb the Chessington passengers interchanging at Motspur Park?

    As an interchange is needed at Motspur Park, that means that the trams would need to run alongside the heavy rail route from Motspur Park station to Motspur Park junction, where the Chessington line branches off. Is there room?

  50. timbeau says:

    I had assumed the extra 2tph would go to Epsom (much as I would like more trains on the Kingston line), so there could still be 6tph at Motspur.

    Many of the tram passengers might stay on to Morden, or even Wimbledon, rather than interchange at MP.

    And looking at Google Earth – yes there does seem to be plenty of room to squeeze in a tram route next to the heavy rail line.

  51. stimarco says:

    @Timbeau:

    My eyesight isn’t the greatest, and the old “hold a couple of fingers apart to cover the ‘scale’ and then slide them along the screen” technique is prone to inaccuracy.

    I suspect extending the heavy rail line to Chessington World of Adventures would be sensible, with a proper Park & Ride setup too, if possible. (The Green Belt rules might prevent that.)

    I’m not sure conversion to light rail is all that sensible. It’s a long way out. Maybe best to wait and see if development picks up pace in future and just make sure nothing that would be needed for such conversion gets built over in the meantime. We don’t have to build extensions to everywhere right away. We have time.

    *

    Re. Croydon > Bromley:

    Why the insistence on extending from Beckenham Junction? It’d be much easier to extend from the New Addington branch and enter Bromley via Hayes. There’s plenty of room along the A2022 (and a short stretch of the A232 before diving up Prestons Road and cutting through a field to reach Hayes station).

    A triangular junction on the Addington Road where the line up to New Addington curves off would allow access to both Bromley and Croydon town centres from that station, while the other edge of the triangle gives direct Bromley-Croydon runs.

    Reaching Hayes station adds a relatively short kink to the line. Getting from there to Bromley can be done with hardly any on-street running as this is right on the edge of the Green Belt: you can just skirt around almost all the housing, but not so far that you can’t have a few stations on the way.

    Mason’s Hill has a surprising amount of potential for widening—even full segregation in many places. The top of the High Street / Market Square is already pedestrianised too, so that’s not an issue, and the trams can loop around Elmfield Road like the buses do to reach that bit, rather than running straight up.

    You’ll need split the tracks along the one-way system to reach Tweedy Road and Bromley North, should it be desirable to take over that branch line to Grove Park, but, overall, it seems a much better option than trying to link Bromley with Croydon via Beckenham as you’d open up a lot more very useful connections, and it’s harder to justify adding the Bromley North branch if you also want to serve Bromley South from Beckenham as you’d end up with two termini rather than just one.

    The more open, low-density nature of the via-Hayes route also means you can get away with fewer stops for long stretches, greatly reducing journey times compared to the via-Beckenham option, which is hardly a direct, or quick, route. This could also make it easier to justify extending from New Addington to Biggin Hill later.

  52. Anonymous says:

    @stimarco
    Interesting idea – you would effectively be upgrading the 314 bus which currently counts as a feeder route to the tram (you only get charged once for using the bus and tram on oyster). The roads are not that congested either (in Hayes anyway)

    At Norman park you could add a bigger carpark to create a Bromley park and ride as well.

  53. StephenC says:

    @stimarco, you beat me to it… Bromley via Hayes from a triangular junction at Addington looks appealing to me to, as much because it provides New Addington with another link. I suspect that an upgrade to the A212 section by Gravel Hill may be needed to reduce level crossings though.

    re Chessington South, while it is an annoying branch, it seems difficult to get those commuters to face a 10 minute increase in their journey times. Besides, Worcester Park is the local centre around there and a tram from Chessington might make more sense going there for interchange. I’d also point out that Motspur Park has a level crossing, which makes changes around there more tricky.

    re the loop, I came to the conclusion that running Blackfriars to Wimbledon was best, with tram from Wimbledon to Sutton, at least as a first stage. The western loop would hugely benefit from higher tph and more frequent stops, as befits the population density and street layouts, such as Toynbee Road, Cannon Hill Lane, Links Avenue, Central Road (close Morden South), Forest Road, etc. Its mostly continuous semis and short terraces around there.

  54. timbeau says:

    The level crossing at Motspur Park shouldn’t be a probelm – on the contrary the fact that the road and rail formations are at the same level makes the transition easier to arrange. And surely tramways can cross heavy rail – the trams are simply subject to the same rules as other road vehicles.

    Agreed that Worcester Park might make a better traffic objective – a largely on-street route via Green Lane and Manor Drive would achieve that.

    What I would also like to see is a branch from Tolworth to Kingston – ideally via Ewell Road, Brighton Road Claremont Road, and Penrhy Road to take in the local main line railhead at Surbiton. A route via Berrylands would be easier to engineer but have a much smaller catchment. Extending to Ham – a district remarkably remote from any rail transport – would be very straightforward, although the narrowness of the A307 might make further extension to Richmond impossible.

  55. Greg Tingey says:

    Timbeau
    Re Tram “heavy” rail crossing.
    Try looking at Portmadoc & the WHR ex-Cambrian crossing.
    Perfectly easily do-able.

    Like the idea of extending from the New Addington branch to Bromley North (& Grove Park) via Hayes.
    Much easier to do!

  56. Anonymous says:

    What impact would the acquisition of new trams to fulfil aspirations of a more frequent service on existing routes, let alone Crystal Palace or Bromley have on Therapia Lane depot. Can it be extended or would a second depot need to be built? If I recall an earlier London Reconnections article into the planned extension of the Bakerloo to Hayes in the 70s met with opposition from locals not wanting a tube depot on their doorstep.

  57. James Bunting says:

    There have been a number of further suggestion about route extensions to Bromley and elsewhere. However, without wishing to be a party pooper, before we all get carried away with joining up the dots on a map there needs to be some thought about a viable network. In addition, as Anonymous @ 1055 mentions above, there is also the little matter of depots.

    As this discussion has progressed the suggestions for the network have made it extend from Leatherhead to Grove Park. This is 30 km as the crow flies and considerably further as the tram would go. How sustainable and robust would such a network be? Where, apart from Therapia Lane, would it be supported from? How would they fit in with the existing network, especially with regard to Croydon Town Centre?

    Stimarco @ 1941 has suggested a Bromley extension via Addington. Apart from questioning some of his statements about route suitability I would suggest a major network planning issue emerges. The current route to Addington has 8tph. Adding a Bromley extension either adds a significant number of extra trams over a large part of that line or requires a reduction of service south of Addington Village to accommodate it. How does he balance these two? Do we have more trams operating over a long section for which there is no extra traffic or do we take away half of the existing service to provide a new one?

    Another consideration is what effect would extending the network have on existing public transport? Introducing a new set of journey options may well have the effect of reducing or removing others. This happened when bus services to the South East and East of Croydon were reduced after Tramlink opened. New extensions would have the same effect. These reductions were along routes that had common points with Tramlink. However, the routings between the points were not always the same, resulting in a withdrawal of service to people who would not be using Tramlink as an alternative.

  58. ChrisMitch says:

    I spotted a new tram in the platform at Wimbledon station this morning at about 0845 – so they are running the new larger trams over the whole Wimbledon line – makes sense if they have a larger capacity.

  59. wimbledonpete says:

    As a Raynes Park commuter the Chessington trains are useful in the peaks, certainly, as they provide a couple of more lightly loaded trains to take up the slack between Motspur Park and Waterloo – by Earlsfield they get rammed like all the other trains on the route.

  60. James GB says:

    The new / old ticket hall at Crystal Palace opened today. This will enable the demolition of the ’80s lean-to structure, making room for the tram extension. The new/old ticket hall is a lot more user friendly and attractive than the lean-to. I would question the provision of just 5 ticket gates but you can’t have everything, and there is room for 20 gates if they felt like it. The contractors have used the spare space on one side to exhibit about 8-9 pictures of the station at various stages of it’s life, which is a nice touch.

  61. stimarco says:

    @James Bunting:

    “Stimarco @ 1941 has suggested a Bromley extension via Addington. Apart from questioning some of his statements about route suitability I would suggest a major network planning issue emerges.”

    I’m very familiar with the areas involved—I even went to a school (now closed) just off the A2022. I also double-checked the entire route using StreetView and Google Earth (which does a better job of showing terrain than their normal “Google Maps” app). From an engineering perspective, the via-Hayes option is a much, much better one than the via-Beckenham one that keeps being trotted out.

    Yes, like any extension, there would be an impact on the network, but grade-separation of the ‘delta’ junction in the vicinity of New Addington is certainly feasible, and unlikely to annoy the locals given the other structures around there. That alone would enable higher service frequencies than would be the case with a flat triangle junction. A new depot could also be built around this area too.

    However, the crucial point about building extensions to other major market towns like Bromley and Sutton is that Croydon ceases to be the network’s sole focus, and that’s the key, I think.

    Just as the DLR is no longer just about serving Canary Wharf and its environs—some services don’t go anywhere near it now!—so an expanded South London Tramlink would cease to be solely about getting people to and from Croydon’s shopping centre.

    A future extension from Bromley to, say, Lewisham, along the A21 (which is mostly dual carriageway between Lewisham and Downham) would not impact Croydon services because the trams wouldn’t go to Croydon. (Lewisham – Croydon journeys would be quicker via the Hayes line anyway.)

    If Tramlink is to become a true network, rather than a one-trick pony, it must take this step and consider additional foci. It’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket, and Bromley, Sutton, Wimbledon, etc. are all just as deserving of better orbital links and journeys as Croydon.

  62. MiaM says:

    Re “the Wimbledon issue”:

    If Tramlink would be diverted to not use a NR platform, then the track bed from atleast the crossing with Dundonald Rd or possible Kinston Rd up to the NR tracks would be free for other usages. How about swapping place with the tram tracks and (most of) the road traffic?

    The neighbours to todays track are already used to the noise tams make, would road traffic be an issue?

    How about for example converting the track bed from Kingston Rd and westwards and build a road bridge over the NR tracks and connect to for example Francis Grove / St. Georges Rd? It could take most of the traffic that today runs on Wimbledon Bridge. Perhaps todays traffic between Queens Rd and Wibledon Bridge could be a problem, but that traffic could probably go either via B235 or Trinity Rd – Mortague Rd – A238 – the new road on tramlinks trackbed.

    Tramlink could then use for example Rutlish Rd – Gladstone Road – A219/The Broadway and Wimbledon Bridge. The roads that Tramlink would use could probably more or less be closed to road traffic.

    Anyone in Wimbledon would probably be familiar with how good Tramlink and a car free central shopping area in Croydon is. Hopefully they could picture a future Wimbledon in the same way (except smaller as Wimbledons central shopping area seems smaller).

    Once Tramlink reachers Wimbledon Bridge it could perhaps for examle continue to the famous Wimbledon sports fields?

    NR could probably pay a bit of this, effectively buying out Tramlink from platform 10. Wimbledon and the other local counciles that Tramlink is on could perhaps also pay a bit of this (especially Wimbledon).

  63. Fandroid says:

    October’s Modern Railways includes an article on the South West Trains Alliance. It’s mostly concerned with plans to increase the number of peak trains into Waterloo. As that is based on a fifth mainline track from Surbiton, the potential bottleneck that is Wimbledon is eased by reclaiming the Tramlink platform and creating a new one outside. The accompanying track diagram only shows a single tram platform, but no doubt TfL could get a double one from the project if they dibbed in a bit of cash. Off-topic, but of interest, is that the slow lines platforms at Waterloo are to be lengthened by widening the bridge over Westminster Bridge road, not by extending over the concourse.

  64. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Yes, Fandroid, I noticed that too.

    None of this is new except for the proposal to widen Westminster Bridge Road but the fact it gets repeated in Modern Railways suggests that it is still current thinking. It does bother me that TfL seem to have one agenda and NR a totally different one.

    Is the plan to spend £15 million to add an extra tram platform at Wimbledon only for it to be abandoned a few years later ? Do TfL doubt that the “fifth track” plan will happen ? Or maybe they believe that the timescales involved mean a new tram platform for one or two decades use can be justified ? – but that still gets us no nearer “the final solution”. Are Merton council involved or are they just standing back ?

    Then again how does the fifth track fit in with one of the Crossrail 2 options to tunnel from central London to Raynes Park or something similar ? Sometimes you get into a horrible situation where a small decision locally cannot be made because of a much bigger project that may or may not happen. A second entrance (“double-ending”) to Euston Square station has been proposed since the 1980′s but is now waiting upon HS2 and the rebuilding of Euston. I fear we may get into the same situation at Wimbledon or alternatively that a relatively lot of money will be spent on a short-term benefit.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Do the new trams include passenger bells? I’ve never seen passengers use this facility on the main fleet to request a stop and never known a tram to pass through a tram stop.

  66. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Theoretically all tram stops are request stops. Therefore the new trams have buttons to press to indicate that the next stop is wanted just like the buses and original Croydon trams. In practice during the day it is highly unlikely that no-one wants to either get on or get off at a stop so even if the button is not pressed you can be reasonably confident that the driver will stop anyway even if no one has pressed the button and there appears to be no-one at the stop. Having said that people do tend to press it just to be sure.

    Catch a tram late at night and it is quite different. Typically there will be an announcement before leaving, say Elmers End, reminding you that all trams stops are request stops. And if there is no-one at the stop and you want to get off it really is important to press that button.

  67. evergreenlondon says:

    In the morning peak is the busiest flow on the Tramlink Wimbledon branch towards Wimbledon or towards Croydon or are both directions as crowded as each other?

  68. JamesGB says:

    It’s a bit off topic, but yesterday I was at Crystal Palace when two trains came in at once. Some people had to wait 3-4 minutes to get through the 3 exit barriers. I think we can just about accept this in locations that have no room to expand the gate line, but the new CP has acres of space to fit more gates. It just isn’t on, TfL.

  69. Ian Sergeant says:

    My two pennyworth on five tracks into Waterloo at http://crooked-cottage.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/five-tracks-into-waterloo.html for those who are interested. Too long to write here as a reply.

  70. evergreenlondon says:

    Bump post up.

    How is Crystal Palace coping now?

  71. James GB says:

    Crystal Palace has been coping reasonably well in my experience so far, the problem only rears it’s head in the evening rush when two trains arrive from central London at the same time. I think this should have been predicted and more gates installed: it’s only likely to get worse as London’s population increases.

    The station staff do seem to have started adjusting the flow of the gates so it’s 3 out + 1 in + 1 disabled in the evening peak, which is an improvement on the situation above, which was 2 + 2 +1.

    Part of the issue here is the layout, everything is slightly squashed in at the south end then there is a big empty space at the north end of the ticket hall. You are often crossing other people’s walking routes. Further, the location of the ticket machines means that the queues for them can cross the gate lines or the route to the coffee shop.

    There is no doubt that the new ticket hall is a vast improvement on the old. It just feels like it wasn’t that well planned.

  72. Anonymous says:

    TfL announces four more trams, double tracking key sections between Croydon and Wimbledon and platform works at Wimbledon.

    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/26396.aspx

  73. Phil says:

    Boris “forgets” the Tramlink extenstion to Crystal Palace again in his TFL 10 year business plan – even though he promised it in his election manifesto.

    He has even had two separate visits to Croydon to be pictured with Trams with “Crystal Palace” on the front of them.

    http://www.thisiscroydontoday.co.uk/Crystal-Palace-Tramlink-extension-backed-Boris/story-17523965-detail/story.html

  74. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Boris doesn’t forget the Crystal Palace extension in his business plan. It is one of the very few projects that gets a mention but as the link makes clear he did not include it for funding. It is frustrating as it has all-party support. I think Boris must have been a bit stung by how much Conservative support there was for the project when he originally cancelled it.

    I have to say it is about the only issue on which I cannot understand why he takes the position he does – professing to support it but seemingly doing nothing to actually help it. That is not to say I agree with all of his decisions but for ones that I don’t I can usually at least understand why he made them and, as far as I am aware, he doesn’t tend to say one thing and do another.

    As far as I am aware we still don’t have a decent costing for the scheme. If we at least had that then the is always the remote chance that Gideon will pick on it as a “shovel-ready” project which would help boost the economy. This is however unlikely as the benefits of the scheme are ones of social benefit and mobility rather than business development or large-scale regeneration.

    We hope to be covering the details of the business plan shortly so maybe any further comments, if there are any, could wait until then.

  75. Philip Wylie says:

    As a resident of Beckenham, I think quick access to Clapham Junction is of reasonable importance. Outside the peaks, very few people seem to travel Beckenham Junction to Crystal Palace and if there were to be a double-track tram track
    into BJ combined with an upper level interchange with the Overground at Brixton and increased frequencies, Bromley to Croydon via tram, changing from heavy rail at BJ and Bromley/Beckenham to Clapham Junction via Brixton would be a breeze and no timetable to consult.

    Accessing CJ via CP is ponderous in the extreme with poor connections at West Norwood for same platform interchange.
    Also, the Southern Metro services are so slow, or maybe it’s geography and pinch points.

  76. Steven Taylor says:

    @Philip Wylie

    I often use the line Crystal Palace / Clapham Junction. I am afraid the `geography` of the line, with much severe curvature, makes the journey slow, apart from Balham to Clapham Junction. I am not sure however, that if a high-level station was built for the Overground at Brixton, that travelling up to Brixton from Beckenham Junction on a stopping service then changing for the Overground would be any quicker to Clapham Junction. For example, the line from Wandsworth Road (Ludgate Line) has a 25mph speed limit between WR and Clapham Junction.

    However, slightly off-topic, an interchange station at Brixton for the high-level Atlantic Lines (Overground) would be very useful and would surely result in a busy interchange.

    The high cost (£80 million?) is surely the stumbling block. Also, there would usually be funded study to determine usage (although the accuracy of these studies has hisrorically been poor) before any detailed plans were drawn up.

    With Surrey Canal Road station taking so long to be built (long story) – possible 2015 opening, I regret I do not think I will live long enough to see the station built.

  77. Phil says:

    I have made further enquires regarding the proposed Crystal Palace extension and have been told that negotiations with the local councils for funding are ongoing and that a decision should be made in the spring.

  78. Steven Taylor says:

    It would be excellent news if it is built. Notwithstanding an existing `heavy rail` link, I would imagine this would be a popular link.

  79. Stephen Spark says:

    I’ve come very late to this discussion but was interested to see the suggestions for extending Tramlink to Chessington. Postwar, the owner of the zoo was negotiating with the Southern Railway and later BR(S) to have the line extended from Chessington South to the zoo, but while it wasn’t rejected outright, the scheme didn’t go ahead. I suspect that was because it would have left the still-new Chessington South station with very little traffic. It may not be far, but it’s a a dreary, uncomfortable walk from South to the World of Adventures, and seems twice as far on the return when you have a tired child in tow.

    There was a postwar scheme to relocate large areas of bombed-out east London – essentially most of the workforce of the London Docks – to Chessington, which, as may be imagined, provoked fierce opposition from the local council, which had no desire to pay for all the necessary schools, drains (which seem to be problematic in this area) etc. It didn’t really make sense to have to ship thousands of dockworkers from Chessington and Malden Rushett to the East End. Nevertheless, despite the imposition of the Green Belt, there was a proposal for a new town at Malden Rushett as late as the 1970s.

    I don’t think the SSSI need be an insurmountable problem to extending beyond Malden Rushett to Leatherhead, because the route could just as easily be moved adjacent to the Kingston Road. Why it won’t happen is the reason that the scheme was put on hold in the first place: the lack of traffic potential in the absence of housing development or the reasonable likelihood of any in the future.

    However, there have been plans in the past few years for a Kingston-Chessington-Malden Rushett-Epsom tram line that would make use of the partly built embankment south of Chessington South station as far as Malden Rushett, from where it would turn south-eastwards to serve the housing that has been built on the old mental hospitals site at Horton, and from there to Epsom town centre. Along with almost every other scheme involving this tract of land (including extension of the Northern Line through Lower Morden to Malden Manor and thence to Chessington), the plan seems to have faded away.

    And that is why, instead of an airport (another grand project that never came to fruition) and a massive sprawl of drab semis served by SWT or the Northern Line or trams, we still have a patchwork of fields and woodland that is essentially unchanged from Victorian times. In development and transport terms Chessington South is the final frontier: beyond it, you drop off the edge of the world!

  80. castlebar says:

    Is that why the Greater London Are boundary extends so far south at Malden Rushett?

  81. Slugabed says:

    Castlebar 5:46 21/04
    It’s rather because the old Surbiton Council area was a peculiar shape,and was included in its entirety into the new Kingston Borough in 1965.

  82. Anonymous says:

    Looking at the shape – why did Biggin Hill, Coulsdon and Chessington end up in London Boroughs but Caterham/Warlingham, Banstead and Epsom and Ewell stay in Surrey. I would have put Caterham and Warlingham with Purley and Coulsdon and Banstead in a London Borough of Surrey Hills and then a London Borough of Epsom and Sutton, adding Wallington to Croydon to match up sizes.

  83. Lew Finnis says:

    It was simply the political decisions taken when the GLC was created as to which local authorities ended up as London Boroughs and which didn’t. In fact some parts of the rural fringes were removed and made into parishes in neighbouring LAs, Cudham being an example if my memory is right. The old Orpington Urban District included a huge rural area, the rest of which ended up in the London Borough of Bromley but the south-eastern fringe was excluded.

  84. Slugabed says:

    ….and I believe some councils (Epsom and Ewell spring to mind) fought a vociferous and ultimately successful campaign NOT to be included in the GLC Area.

  85. Anonymous says:

    A Sutton Tramlink extension is more likely than Crystal Palace, says a Sutton council official.

    http://www.streathamguardian.co.uk/news/10417508.Sutton_in__pole_position__to_get_tram_extension_ahead_of_Crystal_Palace/

  86. Anonymous says:

    What are the loadings like into Wimbledon in the morning peak? Is it currently possible to board a Wimbledon bound tram at Morden Road or other tram stops further towards Wimbledon?

  87. Littlejohn says:

    Tramlink has ordered another four Variobahn trams, to enter service from 2015. More here: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/urban/single-view/view/london-tramlink-orders-more-stadler-trams.html.

  88. Greg Tingey says:

    Slugabed
    Now bitterly resented by all inhabitants of Epsom & Ewell who are over 62, I don’t doubt!

    OFF TOPIC
    But interesting ….
    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/independently-powered-emu-to-be-tested.html
    Too late for GOBLIN (We hope)

  89. Castlebar says:

    @ Slugabed & Greg T

    Yes, you are right. “The Dittons”, so very close to Kingston town centre voted themselves out, being given the choice.

    Now, because they did so, they resent that their houses are worth up to £50,000 less and even so less readily saleable than ones in Hampton, much further out, all because of the travel passes that Hampton residents still qualify for..

  90. Castlebar says:

    All this reminds reminds me of a restaurant appraisal I once read. It simply said, > >

    “Geographically, this new restaurant is situated between Elmers End and Pratts Bottom.
    Gastronomically. it’s about the same”

  91. timbeau says:

    Resurrecting an old thread here, but I was contemplating the Tramlink arrangements in Beckenham and wondered why the arrangment was chosen with two termini, each getting half the service. Granted Elmers End and Beckenham Junction are both useful traffic objectives, but it should hav ebeen possible to extend the Elmers End branch along Elmers End Road to Birkbeck station and join the Beckenham Junction route there. This would have used less track than the existing route through South Norwood Country Park. Even if Harrington Road had to be included, a route across the park from Elmers End to Harrington Road would have been possible.
    I can only imagine that it was decided that the Beckenham Junction branch for some reason wouldn’t be able to cope with the full service (the single track section from Birkbeck, maybe?)

  92. Stuart says:

    @timbeau

    I would think that the single track stretch put them off directing the entire line to Beckenham Junction, but I think there is also a cemetery along the western side of Elmers End Road which may not have appreciated excavation. I doubt London Borough of Bromley supported on-street running to the extent that LB Croydon did – there is no on-street running in LBB. Add to that the perception that part of the Beckenham route was to replace the Addiscombe branch of the Hayes Line, then I guess it seemed a good idea at the time

  93. timbeau says:

    Surely it was the Elmers End branch of Tramlink which replaced the Elmers End – Addiscombe branch?

  94. Anon5 says:

    Southeastern has launched a new app. The live departures page includes Tramlink departures at Beckenham Junction which is helpful but most destinations and stops are replaced with unhelpful C-prefixed numbers. I wonder if this is another example of the lack integration of Tramlink systems with TfL? Tramlink service updates aren’t included on the homepage of the TfL website, and not at all on the mobile version. The beta version looks more promising. BBC London TV’s breakfast updates “pull” information from TfL and Tramlink is noticeably absent from the graphic despite there being space for it among the tube lines, DLR and Overground.

  95. stimarco says:

    @Anon5:

    The Tramlink network was originally built entirely independently of TfL’s control, so their computer systems probably store their data in a form that TfL’s systems weren’t designed to work with directly. What you’re seeing is the raw data being extracted from Tramlink’s computer systems and not being ‘translated’ appropriately into a human-readable label.

    Computers use numbers for everything. Even this website. The real name for this website, as far as your computer is concerned, is: http://54.229.73.248. That set of four numbers is called an “IP Address” and is the Internet’s equivalent of a phone number: Your computer has to search through a Domain Name Server (<abbr title="A DNS is just a glorified telephone directory that links each human-readable domain name to its actual server address. Every Internet Service Provider maintains at least one of these, and what you're paying for when you 'buy' a domain is an entry in all the world's Domain Name Servers for your domain, linking it to your server's 'IP Address’, which is that set of four numbers separated by dots you can see in that link. (The ‘http://’ part merely tells the computer what kind of data to expect from the server.)”>DNS) first to find out what the IP Address of the “www.londonreconnections.com” server is. Once it has found the right IP Address for the server, it can finally contact and ask it for the information you want to view.

    Most databases therefore have similar translation or mapping components that allow the software accessing it to connect the raw ID numbers with nice, legible names.

    Back on-topic: Tramlink probably haven’t provided the relevant conversion tables that map those numbers to stop names, (or more likely, someone simply failed to specify this during the design phase, unaware such a conversion process would be necessary).

    It’s also possible that Tramlink’s computer systems may be scheduled for upgrades / replacement to make them more compatible with TfL’s own systems in the near future, in which case there’s not much point paying for (and maintaining*) code that will be redundant shortly. Though I have no idea if that’s actually the case.

    * (It’s easy to forget that software often has to be updated to run on newer systems. Whenever a new version of Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, GNU / Linux, etc. is released, programmers have to update their own programs accordingly. All this takes time and, therefore, money.)

  96. stimarco says:

    Buggeration! Cocked up the tags again.

    @JB (or anyone with suitable privileges), can you fix it?

    Also:

    “What do we want?”
    “An ‘Edit’ feature! Even a time-limited one!”
    “When do we want it?”
    “As soon as it’s convenient!”

  97. Long Branch Mike says:

    @Stimarco

    I find most online editors, including my Yahoo email’s, only good for the briefest of posts, so I draft my text in Word then copy it over to paste in the editor. That way you could check the tag functionality in the LR preview window, could you not?

  98. Greg Tingey says:

    LBM
    Unfortunately “word” royally screws-up intelligent links in HTML, resulting in much anguish, especially to do with “smart” & “dumb” quote-marks.
    So an apparently-good link will fail when posted.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Last night’s Tramlink twitter Q&A with tram managers included the following:

    [Timescale for live tram stop departures showing on the TfL website] We are currently updating our systems, so realtime information will be available in the summer #askTrams

    [the newer trams] If you are out and about tomorrow it is likely that you will see some new Trams line 3 #askTrams

    We have ordered additional trams that will arrive early in 2016 which will help to alleviate the over crowding

    The new trams are air conditioned and we are looking at improving existing trams but changes will take some time #askTrams

    [Will BBC London take a live Tramlink status feed during BBC Breakfast?] once the upgrade is complete they will be able to take the feed like all the other TfL services #askTrams

    In 2016 line 4 will be extended to Wimbledon, we have started the infrastructure works, and new trams are on order #askTrams

    [On bringing bisons on to trams] They are allowed but only if they have a horn! #askTrams

  100. The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Orange says:

    Plans for second tram line in Croydon town centre

    Croydon Advertiser

  101. Melvyn says:

    Without a map the details of what is proposed will not be cleat to those not familiar with Croydon .

    However, comments section includes building a section of Tramlink on spare railway land which could provide better links.

    As for a new Tramlink line I have always thought the main problem with the Cross River Tram scheme was it simply created another isolated tram route and using the DLR as a model a new Tramlink line from say South Croydon to Brixton then on to Central London would make more sense and could be built in stages .

    As for West Croydon Station its time it and surrounding buildings were demolished and a new station of the type built at Dalston Junction built with over site development and even a double track Wimbledon Tramlink built above the railway !

  102. timbeau says:

    @melvyn
    Indeed, even after consulting a map I am none the wiser as to what this proposed section is for – it merely seems to cut across the middle of the Croydon loop.

  103. Mark Townend says:

    I wonder if it’s an attempt solve the unequal main line connectivity of the current loop configuration by allowing westbound trams from the eastern branches to serve West Croydon, with its LO connections, en route to Wimbledon. Assuming the new line was double track then the single line along Wellesley Road could be abandoned and an additional stop added at the new East Croydon station entrance along Dingwall Road to spread the load away from the existing interchange. The remainder of the loop through West Croydon to Reeves Corner could then be doubled and the George/Church Street line retained only for trams from the east circling the town to reverse, which would retain their connections with both West and East Croydon stations as well. All trams would then serve both stations in both directions – surely an excellent result!

  104. The Future's Bright, The Future's Orange says:

    It’s a bit like the Second City Crossing in Manchester, but there will be tram lines in eight directions in Manchester later this year and some of the trams are twice as long.

  105. Graham Feakins says:

    My understanding is that the line would feed into new track in Dingwall Road from East Croydon station, to cross over the existing route in Wellesley Road (running in the opposite direction from West Croydon) and then follow the present alignment past West Croydon station and on down to Reeves Corner to rejoin the outbound route to Wimbledon.

    Thus East to West Croydon stations would be linked directly without having to run around the loop and Wimbledon-bound passengers at West Croydon would no longer have to go to East Croydon to change onto a Wimbledon tram. Operationally, there is the added convenience of a diversionary route when there is any sort of external incident (and they are uncomfortably common) between East Croydon, George Street and Church Street. Today, in such an event, passengers for the Wimbledon route have to walk between East Croydon and Reeves Corner.

  106. Ian J says:

    @Mark Townend: so Croydon would end up with the same topography as the Heathrow end of the Piccadilly line – a two-way through line plus a one-way loop?

  107. Ian J says:

    For topography read topology…

  108. Graham Feakins says:

    Expanding my last comment to assist understanding, I believe the intention is for the new track, running substantially from east to west only, therefore to be single in Dingwall Road, feeding trams only from East Croydon and as far as where it meets the eastbound part of the loop near Station Road, West Croydon. Thus, from West Croydon onwards down Tamworth Road, I assume it would then be double track, the extra rails paralleling the existing line as far as the Reeves Corner intersection, where it would join the present westbound line from Church Street towards Wimbledon. I suspect little alteration to bus services and other traffic would be required and possibly no diversion at all.

    This would then give the choice of (what will be) the two Wimbledon routes (Lines 3 & 4) to run via George Street and West Croydon, respectively, on their way to Wimbledon. In the opposite direction, both routes will run as now, as will Lines 1 & 2, which will run around the present loop via George Street to return to Beckenham Junction/Elmers End.

    I stress that the major disruptions on the loop generally occur on the westbound stretch in the town centre. When that occurs, trams in both directions on the loop are stopped because eastbound trams would otherwise congregate at the eastern end (East Croydon and beyond) and have no way back towards Wimbledon. Thus incoming trams from the east are reversed at East Croydon and Wimbledon services are reversed at Reeves Corner in order to maintain services to all branches despite the gap in the middle. That is what the proposal will help to overcome.

    Of course, if e.g. any Crystal Palace extension comes to pass (planned back in year?), then it would be possible for an enhanced terminal facility with double track to be incorporated in or beside Dingwall Road on present vacant railway land (but maybe for not much longer).

  109. Mark Townend says:

    @Graham Feakins, 24 June 2014 at 05:56

    Re: Crystal Palace. If all the westbound Wimbledon trams (lines 3 & 4) used the new line, calling at a new stop near West Croydon station and hence greatly improving connections with LO and other heavy rail services there, then any new services terminating from the east could use the loop via George/Church Streets along with lines 1 & 2, hence not requiring any terminting facilities along Dingwall Road. Growing traffic is going to put a lot of pressure on the eastbound side of the town centre section in the future so perhaps in order to accomodate the growth the busy town centre stops with longer dwells (in particular West Croydon) could be lengthened to take a two trams one behind the other, reducing the chance of a tram closely following another one having to wait just before a stop.

  110. The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Orange says:

    The railway from West Croydon to the tram flyover has room for three tracks. Could some of that be used for trams or does the reversing siding get in the way?

  111. Theban says:

    It could be all that people suggest and knowing more would be good but the article only mentions one short stretch of new track. Alone that would mean Wimbledon trams could also loop round Croydon. Maybe that is the intention?

  112. Mark Townend says:

    Here is a quick sketch to illustrate the possibilities for the new westbound line.

    http://www.townend.me/files/tramlink.pdf

    It Looks quite feasible but clearly some related highway and bus changes need working out in detail. Squeezing an additional line through the West Croydon rail and bus station environs looks challenging, but I noted that a number of properties in the terrace on Station Road at the bus station end are empty and boarded up, so perhaps they are already in local authority hands and earmarked for enabling demolition? Tamworth Road is not as complex as at first I feared requiring a northbound bus diversion, probably to Ruskin Rd and a new bus bay for a southbound stop. At Centrale the new westbound track would use the other side of the existing tram stop, currently a bus stop (the routes diverted via Ruskin Rd). Access to Centrale car park would remain the same from the north and would be diverted via Drummond Rd from the south. Reeves Corner would remain an Eastbound only stop as now. I don’t think there’s any need to use any part of the railway alignment south of West Croydon, and currently the full width of the formation is required for the two through running tracks and the central turnback siding used by London Overground services. At West Croydon I’ve also added an extra parallel platform loop track off the eastbound track via the bus station for trams terminating from the east in the town centre. This could allow a short layover for regulating these services around the loop.

  113. timbeau says:

    Surely having the east- and west-bound trams cross each others’ paths twice is likely to lead to delays. Wouldn’t it make more sense to divert the eastbound trams over the new alignment and have the westbound ones use the existing (eastbound) one?

  114. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mark T – it is worth stating that TfL have received planning approval to rebuild West Croydon Bus Station. However I have no idea if the plans make any allowance for future improvements to Tramlink. The plans were never loaded to Croydon Council’s planning database so it was never possible to see whether / how the site may be realigned. TfL published a couple of artists impression of what the new station will look like – a twee Victorian-esque monstrosity is how it appears to me! We do, of course, have different political control in Croydon now so it remains to be seen how development plans proceed and how developer contributions are spent.

  115. Anonymous says:

    Tamworth Road is the site of a regular traffic jam awaiting entry to the Centrale Car Park – likely to get worse when the Westfield/Hammerson development is underway. The southbound tram route would be better following the existing southbound bus route along Drummond Road, joining the town centre loop just before the Wimbledon line diverges.

  116. Vince says:

    There is a plan of the proposed Dingwall Loop here (p 17) – apparently it’s going to be mostly funded by a Section 106 contribution from the redevelopment of the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

  117. Mark Townend says:

    @Vince, 24 June 2014 at 20:38

    So only a turnback loop really – rather disappointing. I can see it could tackle the congestion and delay pointed out by GF by reducing tram traffic on the existing loop, or allow growth in terminating traffic from the east to be accomodated, but it reduces all of those trams connectivity to West Croydon station and other stops in the centre, excepting Wellesley Rd for the Whitgift of course! Looking on the bright side it could be a first stage towards a new westbound track through the town in the spirit of my map suggestions.

    From the RTPI presentation, amongst other points the Dingwall Loop:
    - Removes trams from Wellesley Road/Poplar Walk/Bedford Park junction
    - Reduces conflict with traffic

    So despite the apparent pro public transport slant of the presentation and the Advertiser article, removing trams from the centre, and prioritising road traffic are being presented as a desirable aim in themselves! Perhaps its time for a tram tunnel!

  118. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Vince – many thanks for sharing the link. Some interesting stuff there.

    @ MT – you’ve interpreted the tram loop in the same way as I have. If that is the plan then I am very disappointed and I wonder what tram users from the west side of the town centre will think about it.

  119. Mark Townend says:

    @Walthamstow Writer, 24 June 2014 at 21:35

    I think users of those other stops around the town will be very disappointed too. I don’t see why they are trying to sell this to the public as an improvement when its really just an operational convenience that will remove customer convenience. I suppose that’s one way of managing demand – get a developer to pay to make the service less attractive! As a reversing facility it is expensive way and a lot of street track to achieve that functionality, but I suppose when someone else is paying the cost and disruption are of no concern. Although not affected here in Devon, I’ve thrown my crayons down in disgust and solidarity with those inconvenienced.

  120. Theban says:

    At present the layout in the diagram makes little sense. (Thank you Vince for finding it and posting the link.) If the cross-town route is blocked it means trams could run around the new loop (anti-clockwise one presumes) which gives some very minor extra resilience but it is pretty marginal as turning trams around at East Croydon in such circumstances works pretty well.

    As a frequent tram user I welcome improvements to the system, but this at first glance appears to be a waste of money and offers tram passengers very little. In fact, if used much it will have a negative impact on tram passengers by reducing the number of trams between East Croydon and West Croydon.

  121. Graham Feakins says:

    Firstly thanks to Mark Townend for his skill in producing a map to substantiate my understanding of the preferred option, operationally-wise. I chose not to describe the various options via Lansdowne/Sydenham Roads, etc. for simplicity but his map clearly shows what I omitted. (Only one point – there would still be the ‘straight-on’ connection between Church Street and Reeves Corner.)

    Then the link provided by Vince quite frankly goes off onto another planet, not the first to so when considering Wellesley Road. Perhaps a clue is on the first page, showing a well-known bridge not even visible from Central Croydon. On page 17 with the tram loop proposal, one bit of text says “Removes trams from Wellesley
    Road/Poplar Walk/Bedford Park junction”. No it doesn’t! Bedford Park is at the top of the map, parallel to the tram route planned down Sydenham Road but the existing tramway from West Croydon will still cross said junction, as shown on the map! It is the worst of all options.

    Accordingly, I agree with every word that Theban has just said.

  122. Anomnibus says:

    Before everyone goes off on a massive shouting match, may I point out that the RTPI presentation is very much a ‘blue-sky’ piece? None of this is even funded yet—they even dedicate a slide to the funding gap and possible sources for filling it!

    That said, sending some trams down Dingwall Road does provide access to a number of new(-ish) buildings that have been / are being built in that area as part of its ongoing regeneration. Just because the Whitgift Centre’s replacement will be popular, it doesn’t follow that it should hog all the trams to itself. Lunar House is in that area, and if you don’t know what that is, you haven’t been following the news much.

    I don’t think reducing the trams on Wellesley Road is a bad idea either. It’s a seriously congested road and the local council will need to make the tram network resilient enough to cope with the planned changes to the roads in that part of Croydon anyway. This way, the trams will be able to get right across the road in one quick move, rather than having to crawl across two pairs of very busy lanes at two separate crossings. That there is a tram stop on Wellesley Road itself is irrelevant: it’s not that popular, it’s immediately after a conflicting move across half a dual carriageway, and…

    …the trams are getting longer. That means they take longer to cross other traffic, as well as each other, so the quicker they can be made to to both, the better for service reliability and resilience.

    The current loop won’t be going away.

  123. Graham Feakins says:

    No fault of Mark but whichever option is chosen to turn off Dingwall Road towards Wellesley Road is going to be awkward, with Lansdowne Road requiring the longest stretch of new track on Wellesley Road towards West Croydon, should we ever get that far. Here is a (not to date) street view at Lansdowne Road with Dingwall Road ahead and the route of proposed tramway to the right into Lansdowne Road (East Croydon station lies to the left behind Dingwall Road, with the new footbridge (not shown) at the north end of East Croydon station linking with Dingwall Road/Lansdowne Road at the roundabout):

    http://tinyurl.com/kunuewt

    The turning into Sydenham Road from Dingwall Road would be the worst, requiring a very sharp radius indeed:

    http://tinyurl.com/o5r48ht

    That view shows again Dingwall Road ahead, from which the tramway would come and then turn right around and almost back on itself into Sydenham Road.

    If you then scroll around on that street view to face the other way, you will immediately see the turning, by now on the left, into Bedford Park just beyond where Sydenham Road, which appears to be the easiest of the curves.

    Follow any or all of the street map views down the roads to reach Wellesley Road and the existing single line of tramway on the loop in the middle of the dual carriageway, or, in the case of Sydenham Road, to where the existing tramway crosses to the pavement side to gain George Street (east).

  124. Mark Townend says:

    To take some choice quotes from the Advertiser:

    “Jo Negrini, the council’s director of development and environment, says the pending redevelopment is of “Olympic 2012” proportions . . .

    “Separately, West Croydon bus station is getting a revamp and the council is trying to get more carriages on trains stopping at East Croydon.

    “She (Ms Negrini) continued: “The developer of the Whitgift Shopping Centre is keen to improve the transport links and has committed to significant funding, in particular to enhance the Tramlink and bus systems, and the Wellesley Road corridor.

    “I am confident that Croydon will soon be one of London’s most attractive retail destinations, with good access by public and private transport.”

    Assuming “Olympic 2012″ levels of funding and construction going on around the former Whitgift Centre and Wellesley Road corridor funding I have added a second map to my document showing a ‘Rolls Royce’ option to reroute trams in both directions along a reservation on the west side of Wellesley Road, removing all conflicts with traffic along that road. If the shopping centre development is so comprehensive I’m sure they will be able to make alternative arrangements for access to car parking and for truck access to loading bays. Buses in a northerly direction along Wellesley Road could share the reservation with their own stop in parallel to the tram stop. Buses in the southerley direction could stick to east side carriageway as now with the subway access retained. Removal of the existing central and side tram reservation could allow traffic lanes to be shifted over to make room for the changes on the western side.

  125. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – As one who worked in Sydenham Road near Bedford Park for 30 years, I unfortunately find some of what you say inaccurate. To start with, both East Croydon and Wellesley Road tram stops are no more than two or three minutes’ walk to anywhere along Dingwall Road (itself little more than the length of East Croydon station platforms nearby). Ditto Lunar House.

    Using Dingwall Road, there will be no reduction whatsoever in the number of trams using Wellesley Road. Moreover, the trams are not part of the congestion you describe, being on reservation specifically designed to overtake it all and thus they don’t crawl past anything – they race past and only slow a little approaching the Wellesley Road stop. As for the conflicting move you describe, the traffic light control permits other traffic to move whilst the trams are given priority to cross smartly over a mere single direction of traffic flow. The traffic congestion arises south of the underpass and can block back. That’s nothing to do with the trams. Again, in the opposite direction, Wellesley Road narrows at West Croydon to a narrow single lane because of an incomplete Croydon Ring Road scheme of the 1960′s. Again, no fault of the trams – and many buses – crossing that path.

    Wellesley Road tram stop serves mainly offices and is hardly likely to busy out of office hours, is it? Those who use the Whitgift Centre would have alighted (and boarded) at George Street or West Croydon.

    Croydon’s new trams are only a couple of metres longer then the original build, so that’s hardly going to snatch significant time off a motorist’s life when crossing his path, is it?

    As for ‘blue-sky’ pieces, I’ve seen enough of those for Croydon Town Centre to last a lifetime (and indeed during my lifetime!) and will only believe them when I see something on the ground. What I do complain about, however, is a palpable measure of incompetence in the cloudy mists of those blue skies and it is a shame that TfL has its name stuck to it in this case.

    I wonder which of several plans Walthamstow Writer has in mind when he mentions those for West Croydon station. Everyone got terribly excited some 15 years ago when such plans were published and the closest improvement so far has been to open up a side entrance between the through down line platform and the Tramlink stop.

  126. Mark Townend says:

    @Anomnibus, 25 June 2014 at 00:03

    “I don’t think reducing the trams on Wellesley Road is a bad idea either. It’s a seriously congested road and the local council will need to make the tram network resilient enough to cope with the planned changes to the roads in that part of Croydon anyway. This way, the trams will be able to get right across the road in one quick move, rather than having to crawl across two pairs of very busy lanes at two separate crossings. That there is a tram stop on Wellesley Road itself is irrelevant: it’s not that popular, it’s immediately after a conflicting move across half a dual carriageway”

    The eastbound crossing of Wellesley road is acheived in two stages today, first crossing the northbound carriageway, then 400 meters further on along a dedicated tram reservation crossing the southbound. For a level crossing of such a busy road, this is actually rather clever and efficient as it means each separate part of the whole crossing can be acheived with traffic movement taking place on the opposite carriageway if the traffic signal phasing is designed correctly. On the southbound carriageway, although general traffic has to give way buses can turn towards Dingwall Road and East Croydon station at the same time as a tram is crossing. The northbound carriageway crossing is part of a significantly more complex intersection admittedly, but it is certainly possible for a tram to cross that whilst traffic is also moving on the southbound.

    I don’t know whether it was ever looked at when the system was conceived, but a level crossing of Wellesley Road might have been avoided entirely by running the eastbound reservation along the west side of the corridor, crossing over the flyunder at the George St bridge as I have shown (for both directions) on page 2 of my revised map document. http://www.townend.me/files/tramlink.pdf
    I believe that would have been far too complex at the time, with all the various slip roads for car parks and service areas on this side of the shopping centre. As I said in my previous comment, with the likely level of investment involved in Westfield and Hammerson developments I think this could be the once in a generation opportunity to seek a better solution, not perhaps going as far as a tram tunnel, but creating that tram reservation between Wellesley Road and the redeveloped Whitgift Centre, a fast and reliable route between East and West Croydon stations, perhaps partially shared with buses but not with other general traffic or pedestrians.

  127. Anomnibus says:

    ” To start with, both East Croydon and Wellesley Road tram stops are no more than two or three minutes’ walk to anywhere along Dingwall Road (itself little more than the length of East Croydon station platforms nearby). Ditto Lunar House.”

    Then surely the reverse is also true: that Dingwall Road is only two or three minutes’ walk to East Croydon and Wellesley Road? So what’s the problem with running some trams down there?

    As for the tram length / Wellesley Road crossing issue: what if there are plans to lengthen trams further? As I understand it, they’re getting very full.

    Finally, the same document makes it clear that major surgery is being considered for the main roads, which I expect will include Wellesley Road itself, not just the A23. That means disruptive road works. Which means there may well be a need for a diversionary route regardless of other operational issues.

    Furthermore, if the trams do get longer, the section between the two crossing points might not be long enough to hold a tram in its entirety. The line was built very much on the cheap, after all.

    As you say, Wellesley Road suffers from congestion backing up past this point; it wouldn’t take much to cause problems with tram flow. I’ve seen trams blocked by idiots who don’t realise their vehicles are still obstructing the tram’s swept path. And Croydon really does need to resolve the ‘missing ring road section’ problem. (I’m aware of the history of the area.)

    That said, I agree with you about blue-sky proposals like these. I saw the same problem with Lewisham’s similar tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. And that was my opening point: believe it when you see it, and not one second before.

  128. Anomnibus says:

    @Mark Townend (and anyone else who’s read this far):

    Ignore that bit about the central reservation not being long enough to hold longer trams. It’s clearly a lot longer than I remembered. (It’s been a few years since I was in Croydon, so some of my recollections are a bit hazy.) Bing Maps to the rescue. In fact, it looks like it’d be long enough to handle multiple longer trams in a queue.

    Your suggestion of taking advantage of the Wellesley Road underpass looks better (to me) than any of the other options suggested. I do wonder if the original route proposal isn’t a simple reaction to the realisation that they’d need somewhere to send the trams while the major roads are being dug up. It smacks of a diversionary route to me.

  129. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – Some of your thinking is beginning to lose me, so concentrating on the bits I understand, there are no plans whatsoever to lengthen the Croydon trams – that would require extensive and expensive rebuilding of tram stops throughout the system, if indeed achievable at all, e.g. at Addiscombe and at the new layout-to-be at Wimbledon. Instead, a further four trams have been ordered. In any case, the tram crossing points aren’t there for trams to be held on them and, as Mark T says, there’s some 400 metres between the two in Wellesley Road.

    As for road works, well they’ll simply have to engineer around a working tramway, won’t they! And those car-driving idiots you have seen – they soon learn and such is rare these days.

  130. Graham Feakins says:

    @Mark Townend – “I don’t know whether it was ever looked at when the system was conceived, but a level crossing of Wellesley Road might have been avoided entirely by running the eastbound reservation along the west side of the corridor, crossing over the flyunder at the George St bridge “. No is the simple answer. On the present alignment, the only planned thing that was never installed was a set of points from Wellesley Road turning to join the westbound track just over the underpass at George Street, thereby forming a loop on the Wimbledon side. That would have missed East Croydon, however and thus was not proceeded with.

  131. Theban says:

    What problems are people trying to solve with their crayonista proposals for a new route to West Croydon? Pretty much there is a tram (or two) every 5 mins from East Croydon to West Croydon but if doing that journey the even more frequent buses are faster. It only takes 10 minutes to walk it. There just aren’t service gaps in the centre of Croydon.

    Also, Wellesley Road isn’t just used by office workers as suggested. It is the main platform for passengers leaving the Whitgift Centre and heading east with a subway under Wellesley Road. It is also marginally closer to the top of George St than East Croydon and walking to either is quicker than getting a tram round the loop from George St stop. Even from the High St it can be quicker to get to East Croydon and beyond to walk to Wellesley Road than to walk to West Croydon.

    Any money available could be far better spent elsewhere on the system. For instance in terms of resilence a turn back option for Wimbledon trams down Frith Rd to allow Wandle Park -> Reeves Corner -> Church St -> Wandle Park would be far better than than the alternatives at present if the main loop is down. But it is hard to see how any work in the central loop is a present priority.

  132. Anonymous says:

    Money would be better used on bringing the Tramlink to Sutton and Tooting Broadway for Crossrail 2 connections and improving local links to Croydon. As well as sorting out Wimbledon then more tram tracks in Croydon

  133. Mark Townend says:

    @Theban, 25 June 2014 at 04:43

    The first problem I was trying to solve was to ensure that all trams in either direction (or terminating in the centre from east) could serve both East and West Croydon stations, the latter in particular having gained importance as the terminus of the London Overground service. At the moment eastbound cross town trams and terminating trams from the east serve both interchanges, but westbound cross town trams heading for Wimbledon can’t call anywhere near West Croydon. This means that a simple one change journey from Merton to Forest Hill in one direction for example requires a second time consuming and delay prone change in the reverse direction, or a longish walk from West Croydon to Church Street (over 600m on narrow streetside pavements). The second issue addressed would be unreliability on the westbound part of the loop via George and Church Streets by segregating westbound trams from those turning via the town centre loop. The published plans tackle the latter point, but only by excluding the (some) terminators entirely from the the majority of the central loop stations, including West Croydon station with its LO and other heavy rail connections. There would be many practicallities engineering the published proposal as well as GF has pointed out with difficult tight junctions to negotiate. To get acceptable radius one might have to block both lanes of each intersecting road, the entire junction, and perhaps take some front yard space from neighbouring buildings – not ideal. Also just because a vehicle can negotiate the tightest radius turns, thats not carte blanche for all curves in the infrastructure to be designed as such, as that affects speed and journey times and increases rail and wheel wear (a good lesson from first generation DLR).

  134. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Just in case there is some confusion here …

    I think that any suggestion in the presentation about removing existing tram traffic is misinformed/misleading. The Dingwell Loop is about catering for additional tram traffic from the east. Unless something has radically changed recently.

    The presumption is that the town centre can handle 24 trams per hour (tph) maximum although I have never discovered on what basis this presumption is based. It would not take much of an increase in service to get close to this e.g. 12 tph Wimbledon and a decision (not currently planned) to extend all of these to New Addington plus 8 tph (currently 6, ignore for the moment capacity issues on single track sections) to Beckenham. The town centre is then at 20 tph which is a comfortable amount to handle leaving, as one possibility, 6 or 8 tph to Elmers End via the Dingwall Loop. Only passengers to/from Elmers End to centre of Croydon would be noticeably inconvenienced and those using Wellesley Road would actually be better off.

    This seems to be a slight change to the earlier proposal to terminate them at the new entrance to East Croydon station. I suspect the value of the land put an end to that. This current proposal would have the slight advantage over the situation of today of relieving the current main entrance of the station a bit if some people stayed on the tram and used the new entrance.

    Wellesley Road tram stop is not given the importance it could potentially have. It is indeed next to a dedicated subway to the Whitgift shopping centre and this could be made more welcoming. The tram stop also suffers from being cramped due to there originally being a side road (now blocked off) to the south of it. So it could be relocated very slightly to the south and given more prominence and there could be more shelter situated further away from the noisy traffic of the underpass. It is indeed relatively busy during the day but quiet in the evening.

    I would write more but this French azerty keyboard is driving me nuts.

  135. Graham H says:

    @PoP – can’t you reprogramme it? (We had to do this after my son had re-set our domestic keyboard to suit his Russian course…)

  136. I probqbly could if it wqs ,y co,puter. The qlternqtive is pecking on the ,obile phone.

  137. Theban says:

    The system needs the Elmers End services to circulate the full loop. Reducing the number of services from East Croydon to Centrals and West Croydon could make people presently using the tram consider driving again. They are also necessary to attract new shoppers to travel via East Croydon.

    If the centre section needs relief then some Wimbledon trams need to terminate to the west and not pass through the centre. There are several ways that could be achieved none of which need the Dingwall Loop.

    I don’t believe running more trams from the east is feasible in any event. As I said earlier the lights just east of East Croydon already cause major delays for buses and taxis and there isn’t capacity for more trams to cross.

  138. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Graham F – my reference to West Croydon was to the *bus* station rebuild which has been approved by Croydon Council. I am not aware of any changes to the railway station. Clearly if the property envelope of the bus station is altered it could improve or worsen the prospects for a much improved tram loop operation around Croydon as suggested by Mark T.

    While I understand the “blue skies” comments above and the natural cynicism about developments my reading of things is

    (a) you have a large scale development that has political support and which has been agreed in principle.
    (b) there is political support for “doing something” to improve Croydon’s prospects.
    (c) the documents being referred to are, I believe, part of a required planning framework.
    (d) it certainly looks like TfL have been closely involved given the presentation’s content.

    I certainly don’t believe the tram loop idea has appeared out of nowhere without TfL’s participation. We may not like it very much or fully understand the context behind it but PoP’s words help.

    If I have been paying attention I think there is a desire to redevelop the land between East Croydon and Wellesley Road so providing a tram into that area could make sense *on that criteria*. I also think there is a strong desire to restructure Wellesley Road and get rid of “motorway syndrome” that blights that bit of Croydon. That offers opportunities to improve the tram loop as well as put in much better cycling and walking infrastructure and, to borrow the latest buzz phrase, create a “sense of place”. Hopefully some more clarity will emerge in due course – either from the pen of PoP and / or the politicians in Croydon.

  139. Theban says:

    @Walthamstow Writer

    This does indeed sound like a good opportunity to do something but the loop is a very poor candidate for that “something”. Extendin the underpass north and putting a boulevard and tram on top would be much better with car park entrances below pedestrian level, just as one example.

  140. Mark Townend says:

    @Theban, 25 June 2014 at 14:41

    I like it. we could call it the ‘Croydon Big Dig’ project, fully in line with the Mayor’s tunnelling enthuisiasm.

  141. Pedantic of Purley says:

    The system needs the Elmers End services to circulate the full loop. Reducing the number of services from East Croydon to Centrals and West Croydon could make people presently using the tram consider driving again. They are also necessary to attract new shoppers to travel via East Croydon.

    If the centre section needs relief then some Wimbledon trams need to terminate to the west and not pass through the centre. There are several ways that could be achieved none of which need the Dingwall Loop.

    I don’t believe running more trams from the east is feasible in any event. As I said earlier the lights just east of East Croydon already cause major delays for buses and taxis and there isn’t capacity for more trams to cross.

    If I understand it correctly, one of the major financial benefits of Tramlink that (retrospectively) justifies the money spent on it is the increased employment opportunities that residents in New Addington now have and take advantage of due to the reliable fast direct link with Valley Park. Loss of a few Elmers End users who cannot face a simple change of tram when considering how to get to the shops doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison.

    The system’s route was modified a few years ago to replace the Elmers End – Wimbledon service with a New Addington – Wimbledon one. There must have been a good reason for this.

    Your objection to more trams from the east presumes that the taxi rank (and the ‘kiss & ride’) location will remain where it currently is. I don’t think that can be assumed. If the taxi and pick-up/drop-down traffic is moved elsewhere, most likely to the new entrance, which will one day probably be the main one, then there should not be a problem. With that traffic gone most bus/tram crossings of the junction could be done in parallel.

  142. Theban says:

    A good point about moving the taxi rank and certainly one I had missed. With that in mind I concede that I might be wrong about capacity from the east.

  143. Graham Feakins says:

    It is perhaps worth adding that – before the system opened but on which the original routeing and services were based – the projected figures within two years of opening were such that the Beckenham Junction route would be the major carrier, some double that of the estimated use from New Addington, with Elmers End narrowly falling behind the Wimbledon route. Thus the original route pattern.

    According to the Department of Transport, Tramlink carried 31.2m passengers last year (up 3.7% on the previous year).

  144. Graham Feakins says:

    @Theban -”What problems are people trying to solve with their crayonista proposals for a new route to West Croydon?”

    I should have clarified. It was a Tramlink proposal originally but not so long ago, rather than run of the mill crayonistas.

    I have already explained the problems.

  145. Graham Feakins says:

    @Theban – My apologies; I sometimes fail to complete my comments satisfactorily but just in case, my original explanation of the problems are above at 23 June 2014 at 23:33 and 24 June 2014 at 05:56.

    Because some of my Tramlink material dates back to before my computer swap (and indeed before home computers!), I cannot readily remember whether the thoughts of the Tramlink ‘team’ were ever published. Other options were setting a relief route via ‘somewhere near’ to Katharine Street, to the south of George Street. Some of TfL’s tram expansionist policies to be achieved by 2016 (!) also came into play. See this pdf map (especially Tramlink and Cross River Tram), which JB mentioned a long time back:

    http://tinyurl.com/2abfp

  146. Anomnibus says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    And people wonder why I think the Beck-style map may need to be retired: the Crystal Palace Tramlink extension on that map suggests a very roundabout route, via Penge!

    Come to think of it, that map also supports HM Treasury’s insistence on including an “optimism bias”: of all the projects shown, I think only the T5 Piccadilly extension and the London Overground have actually been built. (The Met extension to Watford Junction might make it in time, but that project does seem to be going rather slowly at present.)

    Interesting that Crossrail isn’t shown going any further west than Heathrow though.

  147. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – Well whilst the Crystal Palace route might not pass actually through Penge itself, the route is certainly roundabout and ends up very close to Penge. Indeed a stop was planned between Birkbeck and Crystal Palace, too, where it crosses Croydon Road, Penge.

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.4165492,-0.068712,16z

  148. Anomnibus says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    Actually, the railway bridge is on “Penge Road”. The railway skirts right up against the borough boundary, with the “Croydon: You’re welcome to it!” boundary sign literally just the other side of the bridge itself. It’s therefore still in Croydon at this point, and my understanding is that the Tramlink extension would use this railway right of way.

    Not that this quibble means anything; my point is that the TfL Beck-style map shows the extension running right past Penge West station, which is a bit round the houses by anyone’s standards.

    I can see why they put Crystal Palace where it is on the diagram—Thameslink’s West Croydon route would get in the way otherwise—but it does show just how badly London’s geography has to be warped to make the diagram work at all now. This is only going to get worse.

  149. Melvyn says:

    If a new section of tram route will improve things that’s fine. But we must resist removal of track from streets given how difficult it was to get it their and if future expansion requires lines on same roads they would find themselves up against the nimby and road lobby.

    Anyway , surely we should be looking at expanding the network in order to bring more customers to the new Westfields development given the way both of their other developments came with improved public transport links but that was before Boris .

    In fact, the image of Whitgift centre with just a couple of cars and no buses and trams is typical Boris and no different to those of Elephant and Castle which fail to show buses or show just a couple !

    Croydon Council went to labour in last months election so we will have to see what difference this will make to these plans .

    Logically trams should run northbound outside the Whitgift Centre allowing passengers to reach the centre without using dangerous inaccessible subways with car park entrances moved round the back .

    One thing Boris has done is remove many pedestrian subways so perhaps a new crossing at street level should be built to replace the subway allowing tram passengers to cross to centre at street level ?

  150. Theban says:

    The present subway is fine – it just needs to be cleaned more often but presumably Westfield could easily be persuaded to take that on. It isn’t one to use at night but there is little reason why anybody would need to once the shopping centre has shut. Maybe it could be better but it is sufficiently “good enough” that it falls well down the priority list.

    There is also no reason for trams to run northbound past the Whitgift: everybody uses George St and that works well although the platform can get quite congested.

    Graham Feakins post has it right IMO with a number of extensions to the network but also a relief route across Croydon probably using Katherine St. The relief shouldn’t be more tracks past West Croydon – the idea should be three separate alignments so that two are always available. That suggests the new one could be single track but signalled for running in either direction.

  151. Melvyn says:

    After my comment above I did a quick search for Tramlink Extensions and found the consultation Mayor Ken did for the Crystal Palace extension in 2006 (!) so here we are 8 years later and zilch done –

    See – http://www.croydon.gov.uk/contents/documents/meetings/546596/790973/591490/Croydon_Tramlink_Crystal_Pa1.pdf

    Whether same plans would be made today will no donut now have to wait until after 2016 election ?

    @Theban cities are for people and not cars and its cars that should go in subways freeing up streets for people .

    Oh anyone alighting a bus on northbound side wanting to catch a tram needs to use subway which is not much use if you use a wheelchair or have problems using stairs .

  152. Graham Feakins says:

    For Anomnibus and others, this rather nice 12min video of recent Central Croydon Tramlink operation will assist in understanding the layout and operation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2equFJgkuGY

    Guided tour: Starting at Lebanon Road stop on Addiscombe Road (all four tram routes are on this stretch), shared with buses (albeit with separate bus stops) and local traffic, the cameraman proceeds west towards E. Croydon station, then down George Street and then anticlockwise (against tram flow) around the loop. Thus, along Wellesley Road to the turning out of Station Road, West Croydon, by which time you will have seen trams crossing both lanes of Wellesley Road traffic, and then to West Croydon tram stop/railway station/bus station. Onwards to cross North End/London Road junction and down past Centrale to Reeves Corner, where the Wimbledon route comes in and leaves. Still against the tram flow, we reach Church Street stop, followed by Crown Hill (by Surrey Street market) and George Street stop and back to where we started the loop at Wellesley Road.

    Note how comfortably pedestrians accept the passing trams, which is something I can’t say I’ve seen with buses. P.S. There’s not so much birdsong to be heard ‘in real life’ in the environs depicted!

    @Theban – I think it was the Croydon Advertiser where I saw fairly recent plans that included removing the Whitgift Centre subway towards the Wellesley Road tram stop! Of course, those plans also showed an idyllic, street-calmed stretch of roadway to/from the underpass, across which roadway pedestrians would feel at ease crossing but quite how all this was to be achieved rather escaped me. Street View here:
    http://tinyurl.com/pbsmj54

  153. Graham Feakins says:

    @Melvyn – When the Whitgift Centre is open, there’s lift access from the northbound bus stops to the “Wellesley Passage” aka the subway, beneath. There is a ramp to the pavement on the other side. Others using northbound buses might find it more convenient to take their bus one or two short stops farther on, to or close to West Croydon, where they can change onto the tram at street level.

  154. Theban says:

    @Theban cities are for people and not cars and its cars that should go in subways freeing up streets for people .

    I could not agree more. The Purley Way shopping areas are a nightmare for pedestrians. If, as a nation, we want people to use public transport we need to do two things:

    * make life easy for pedestrians once they get off their bus, tram or train, and

    * get rid of the bleep heating on public transport so you don’t wilt when climb on wearing the coat you need for outside

  155. @Graham Feakins,

    If you look carefully on your streetview you will notice two places on the right hand side where kerb drops have been put in but there has been a barrier installed to make it quite clear they are not yet in use.

    This was done as a bit of forward planning when they did some works a few years ago to deliberately make it considerably more awkward for vehicles to use the slip road from Wellesley Road to join George St. This was “buses only” but many motorists were ignoring it or incapable of reading the prohibition signs.

    The work was part of a long term plan to install a pedestrian crossing on a traffic-calmed Wellesley Road. At the time I thought it considerably optimistic and wondered how many years or decades it would be until they see use.

    Also, if one rotate the view a bit one can see Wellesley Road tram stop which really has to be one of the most unsatisfactory stops on the entire system. It is wedged in between private office frontage and the kerb. Pedestrians walking along Wellesley Road are forced to fight their way through the waiting passengers at the tram stop. As an absolute minium one could move the tram stop about half-a-tram-stop length south and relocate the shelter there – set back a little further from the track. One could also put the other street clutter (e.g. ticket machines) there in a place where they would not obstruct the through route.

  156. Greg Tingey says:

    Given how well trams interact with pedestrians in Croydon (& elsewhere) can anyone explain why Bromley are so insistent on “no street running”?
    Or are they just mad?

    Oh, & talking of car-drivers and trams Ahem
    And oops & laugh my socks off ….

  157. Slugabed says:

    Greg 08:39 29/06
    Having recently had dealings with the London Borough of Bromley,I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that they are probably mad.
    Certainly their ideas on how to interact with those they are there to serve leave an awful lot to be desired compared to other London authorities I have had dealings with.

  158. Melvyn says:

    @Theban on Borisbuses sauna towels would be more useful !

  159. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – I fear you have answered your own question about Bromley Council. I do not have the direct experience that Slugabed clearly has but one need only look at what they have done to bus routes and stops in central Bromley to facilitate “development” to question if they have the slightest understanding of public transport and those who use it [1]. Bizarrely Bromley has a far more decent bus service than it otherwise would if it “enjoyed” the benefits of deregulation as elsewhere in Kent. On those rare occasions when I make it as far as Bromley I tend to note how many people use the buses to shop in Bromley. Yes there are loads of cars too but with lots of free parking that’s no great shock.

    [1] still I am beginning to seriously wonder if TfL and the Boroughs are having an outbreak of collective insanity. I keep falling across highway and “public realm” schemes funded by TfL which cause chaos for months during construction and then when complete they utterly wreck traffic flow and consequently bus service operation. I am struggling to see how any of this is an improvement.

  160. Theban says:

    Moving Wellesley Rd tram stop towards George St would definitely make sense.

  161. Andrew Rolph says:

    When Tramlink was opened, Walpole Road had a junction with Wellesley Road. If that junction had been blocked off when Tramlink was constructed, there would have been plenty of room for Wellesley Road tramstop across the former junction. Curtailing Walpole Road by a further car length or so (up to the white van and the postbox in Streetview) would make space for a tramstop with pavement behind.

  162. Graham Feakins says:

    @Andrew Rolph – (You need to scroll a couple of clicks forwards from PoP’s rotated view to come across white van and postbox in Walpole Road just beyond the tram stop) but the little story behind that is that Royal Mail objected to stopping up Walpole Road just because that was the route taken by their vans to collect from that box! The box was then moved to the other side and sufficient room was permitted for the van to be turned and the road was stopped up. Such were the struggles encountered by Tramlink in the early days.

  163. Graham Feakins says:

    @Theban – In answer to “@Theban cities are for people and not cars and its cars that should go in subways freeing up streets for people.”, you said “I could not agree more. The Purley Way shopping areas are a nightmare for pedestrians.”

    The Purley Way was constructed as the Croydon By-Pass (or Bye-Pass) around 1922, which much later became part of the London-Brighton A23, itself diverted on maps from the centre of Croydon (London Road from Thornton Heath Pond, via North End, High Street, South End and Brighton Road to Purley then losing its A23 designation).

    The clue is in the term “Croydon By-Pass”. Notwithstanding the fact that significant light industry was lost post-war alongside Purley Way and Croydon Airport alongside, there was no excuse whatsoever to try and establish a mass of factory-style shopping outlets there to replace the lost light industry and thus draw trade from the centre of Croydon (and grab a bit from neighbouring Sutton). Despite the existence of nearby Tramlink, which does its best to serve the Purley Way ‘shops’ (I use the term loosely – I personally hate the area now for the reason you give and swore never to return), one is never going to be rid of the very heavy A23 traffic, dividing ‘shops’ from Tramlink on the other side, on its way to/from the M25 and beyond.

    The Purley Way thus was never intended to accommodate pedestrians crossing it (or even walking alongside it) and probably never will. Those shops should be encouraged back to Croydon town centre, where we are told there is room, especially since the demise of Allders department store, once claimed to be the largest in the south east outside Oxford Street.

  164. Anomnibus says:

    @Graham Feakins:

    Nobody’s going to IKEA by tram to buy new bed and a few bookcases: you’d never be able to get it all home. The trams are there primarily for the workers, and for those who only intend to buy a few smaller items.

    I know there are other stores there, but most really are better accessed by car.

    I personally disagree with the notion that cars are inherently ‘evil’ or ‘bad’: they’re just another part of the transport jigsaw and a perfectly valid means of transport when used well.

    The problem with London—and many other cities—is that, in the past, our predecessors became utterly besotted with the car and felt it was the only piece of the transport puzzle that mattered. Hence, ironically, the Croydonisation of Croydon!

    These views later proved to be incorrect, and we’re paying the price for that today. Nevertheless, it’s bad form to repeatedly apply the 20:20 vision of hindsight to these situations. Take it too far and you can argue just as easily that we should hand the British Isles back to the Italians, or Ireland to the Spanish. We can only make decisions with the information we have available to us at the time.

    The trick is to find a way to solve the traffic congestion problems—this also affects buses and goods deliveries, not just private car owners—without knocking down Croydon completely and starting over, however appealing that might be to some.

    Town and city planning is a journey, not a destination. There’s no point when you can say, “Croydon is now perfect and will never, ever need any further changes; our work here is done!”

  165. Nobody’s going to IKEA by tram to buy new bed and a few bookcases: you’d never be able to get it all home.

    You would be surprised if you saw what they do get on a tram. It would probably take multiple journeys (or multiple people) for a flatpack bed and bookcases though. Anyway you could always get to the store by tram and have it delivered. A very practical solution if you don’t own a car.

  166. Chris H says:

    I once bought a flat pack IKEA bookcase and took it home from Edmonton on the 192 bus and the Victoria line. Perfectly possible although not very convenient, so I can imagine the Croydon trams are equally well-used by customers with flat packs. TfL’s restrictions on luggage are no item greater than 2x2x2m, IIRC.

    (The hardest part was the two flights of stairs up to my flat. Even if I had paid for a taxi home I would have had to carry it up those stairs!)

  167. Paying Guest says:

    In the late 70s I brought a recliner chair (flat pack) home to Biggin Hill from the IKEA branch at Eching outside Munich via Heathrow/Piccadilly line/train to Bromley South. That was in the days before IKEA had any branches in the UK.

  168. Graham H says:

    These things can go wrong – my mother and grandmother once set off from Liverpool Street by tube carrying two large steamer trunks and duly arrived at Ealing Broadway having forgotten them. Yours truly rather shamefacedly then had to go to the Baker Street Lost Property Office to explain and retrieve.

  169. Anomnibus says:

    (sigh) Serves me right for not using a qualifier, I suppose…

    Fine, yes, you can take some items on a tram or bus without giving yourself a hernia, but most people won’t, because it’s a lot more convenient to transport it all in a car. Convenience is the backbone of all transport systems. It’s all about the best fit for the job in hand.

    For a commuter, driving into central London makes less sense than public transport because (a) you don’t have to find a space to park the train, and (b) it’s invariably quicker as London’s road network leaves much to be desired.

    For someone doing the weekly shop for a family of four, taking the car to a big supermarket, with its attached (free) car park and shopping trolleys, makes a lot more sense than trying to herd the whole family down the local High Street and picking up bits and pieces from smaller shops. Yes, the latter is possible, but time = money and people today have a lot less of both, despite some governments printing ever more of the latter.

    And, yes, you can get stuff delivered too, though you might want to read the small print. Often, deliveries will only be made to a front door. And I’ve seen—first-hand—what happens if your front door also happens to be at the top of a lot of steps because you live on a steep hill. You’ll be lucky to catch the lazy git running away from your front door after cheekily posting a “Sorry we missed you!” card through it.

  170. Rich Thomas says:

    TfL’s restrictions on luggage are no item greater than 2x2x2m, IIRC.

    I’d like to see an intrepid IKEA shopper try and get a 2m cube onto a tram ;) I’ve manhandled bulky stuff home via Ampere Way (and in fact yesterday slogged home from IKEA Wembley with a heavy bag and some 140cm curtain tracks), but that’d defeat both me and the door apertures…

  171. Graham H says:

    When we came to prepare Red Star Parcels for sale (remember them), the Board realised that there were no contracts in place between Red Star and the nascent TOCs and there then ensued a series of Pythonesque negotiations about what might or might not be brought onto different types of stock under the guise of a “parcel” – the prize for imagination went to Regional Railways who envisaged people loading grand pianos onto Pacers.

  172. Kit Green says:

    I remember Red Star Parcels very well.

    TV commercials and programmes for the ITV companies were delivered to most of them via Red Star as this was the fastest option in most cases. I had to deliver tapes (weighing up to about 9 kilos for a 90 minute programme (2″ videotape, 1979).

    This usually meant visiting by van Euston (for Granada, Central, Border, Scottish), Paddington (for HTV and Westward), Liverpool Street (for Anglia) in the evening in a mad rush to get to the Red Star offices before the last trains.

    I don’t remember any Red Star office at Kings Cross. Were east coast parcels also handled at the Euston office? I must have left the tapes for Tyne-Tees, Yorkshire TV and Grampian somewhere.

    Later this year all TV stations have to accept delivery by file via high speed internet. Much easier.

  173. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anomnibus – yes people will choose a convenient option but that doesn’t rule out people carrying all sorts on public transport. The decline of car ownership and usage in London has removed the car option for a growing number of people. Some can opt for home delivery but others will carry their purchases. You should see what get’s stuffed into 192 and 341 buses at IKEA Edmonton and all sorts ends up on Tramlink. Worth considering the 192 is run with small midibuses due to clearance issues elsewhere on the route and regularly has loadings of people stuffed up to the windscreen. Add IKEA purchases on to that lot!

    I once lugged, and it nearly finished me off, a set of shelves (flat packed) from IKEA Neasden (when it was the only IKEA in London) back to NE London with a walk to Neasden Tube, off at West Hampstead to NLL Line and then GOBLIN – this in BR or Silverlink days when the service was useless and infrequent. None of this air conditioned, frequent nonsense we have today! ;-) I don’t drive and don’t have a car licence so I’m part of that minority who has to struggle with bulky purchases on public transport unless I want to pay extortionate delivery charges.

  174. Theban says:

    Purley Way isn’t just issues with the A23. It is a lack of pedestrian crossings on side roads and drivers who don’t give any consideration to pedestrians. Several more pedestrian crossings, speed bumps and a 20mph speed restriction would solve the issues. All things other councils implement but which Croydon ignore in this “shopping” area.

    I agree the shops would be better back in Croydon centre but at the least in terms of transport policy it needs to be treated as a high street and shopping area.

  175. Graham Feakins says:

    @Kit Green – “I don’t remember any Red Star office at Kings Cross”

    That surprises me somewhat as even East Croydon had its own Red Star office. Indeed I collected heavy bits of Bournemouth trolleybuses there – and took them home on the local RT bus!

    Waterloo (Main Line) Red Star was very busy and one firm I know long had a contract for daily shipments between there and Portsmouth (deemed to be more reliable at the time than Royal Mail for inter-office letter/parcel transfer, even if it involved a post boy to carry and collect from their Chancery Lane office).

    Of course, in another era, several major UK tramways ran their own Parcels Cars. Manchester’s was probably the most extensive.

  176. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @RichThomas,

    Not more than 2m long. Width and depth not specified. All in the Conditions of Carriage section 12 page 49.

  177. Mark Townend says:

    When I rebuilt my kitchen in Reading some years ago, I opted for some IKEA units and went to the Croydon store to select all the bits and pieces necessary one evening after work in London. I arranged delivery of my fairly substantial order, but it was only when I got home I realised I had failed to pick up the large sink/double drainer top I needed. I didn’t want to pay yet another delivery charge, so I went back the following day and managed to carry it to Wimbledon on the tram, back to Reading on the train then a taxi home. I was knackered but got it back safely. On another occasion I picked up a refurbished cast iron radiator from an ebay seller at a South Eastern station. Travelling with a friend this time we used ropes to carry the thing and changed at Waterloo East, using a Eurostar trolley to wheel it over to the Windsor platforms and a Reading train. My ebay feedback was ‘strong’.

  178. Graham Feakins says:

    @Mark T – And if you read old tram history books, they tend to relate how anything bar the kitchen sink could be carried on the front platform beside the driver!

  179. DavidG says:

    IIRC in the early 1990s the Red Star parcel office at King’s Cross stayed open all night, and would therefore also accept packages for destinations served by Liverpool Street trains, whose Red Star office closed much earlier in the evening. And the iMac I’m writing this on was conveniently brought home from the Apple Store on a bendy bus.

  180. Long Branch Mike (Sur le Métro) says:

    @Anonmibus

    “Nobody’s going to IKEA by tram to buy new bed and a few bookcases:”

    When I first moved to Toronto I happily lived without a TV, until I suddenly realized 1 day that the hockey playoffs were imminent. So I bought a TV downtown and put it in a shopping cart and pushed it to the subway. This was 1989 so the TV was a huge vacuum tube type, almost as heavy as Mark Townend’s cast iron rad. I had a few odd looks but most were accustomed to seeing people move large things by public transport. Regarding trams, only now, 25 years later, are we getting low floor streetcars.

  181. Graham Feakins says:

    So, Anomnibus, you will have gathered that lots of people use the Croydon trams to and from IKEA. Indeed, the tram stop is called Ampere Way, after the former power station on the site which IKEA occupies. My original comment didn’t actually mention IKEA because it’s on the same side of Purley Way as the tram stop; you did. This Google map illustrates: http://tinyurl.com/qex3zz3

    As well as the significant width of nearby Purley Way creating all the hazards mentioned above, note the slightly amusing reference to “Walking path to IKEA with steps” from the Tramlink stop. One wonders whether there’re many IKEA customers returning their faulty step ladders and the like.

  182. Anomnibus says:

    @Everyone:

    Yes, yes, and I once took my one and only TV—an old Ferguson TX 22″ model that seemed to weigh a metric tonne at the time—for repair by plonking it in an old pram that I’d been using for evening newspaper deliveries, and pushing it about a mile to a repair shop in a Penge backstreet.

    What’s your (collective) point here? To support my concession that, yes, some people do choose, or are forced, to do things the hard way?

    “Anecdata” does not equal evidence of anything. The active posters on this website are barely even a rounding error in the total number of people who use Tramlink for anything at all, let alone buying furniture from the Ampere Way IKEA.

    Unless you can show me photographs of trams packed full of people carrying bedsteads, wardrobes and other similarly bulky items all the way home, to support some thesis that this is the most popular way to shop at that abomination of a store, you don’t actually get to “win” this non-competition of pedantry. I already admitted that some people might choose to do this.

    *

    Frankly, I’m shocked—shocked, I say!—that nobody thought to point out that the same tram route also serves a bloody great multiplex cinema and entertainment complex, for which public transport makes a hell of a lot more sense! (Seriously, what kind of amateur pedants are you? Nul points!)

    My point was that (a) cars have their place in The Great Jigsaw of Transport, and (b) so do trams! Are you seriously suggesting that trams are the more convenient choice?

    I still contend that the most convenient mode of transport to use when buying large, heavy, bulky products from a big store like IKEA is the car, not the tram. Ditto for doing the weekly or monthly shop for a large family.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible to use the tram for such purposes, merely that it’s a hell of a stretch to claim that it’s more convenient.

    Even a bus can be more convenient than a tram for many journeys. Not everyone happens to live within 500 yards of Tramlink.

  183. Anomnibus says:

    For what it’s worth, comment threads and forums—on almost every blog site—tend to represent only a tiny, tiny fraction of the total readership. The proportion is invariably far less than 1% on popular sites. (I’m sure John Bull could provide hard numbers for this site.)

    Note that this also scales up to sites like Reddit and their ilk: while the total number of forum posters will be high, there will be far fewer regular / active posters in each topic-specific thread / sub-forum.

    Therefore, five or six posts supporting a random hypothesis does not constitute “evidence” in any meaningful sense of the term. Such posts are referred to in IT as “anecdata” (from “anecdote” + “data”.) Anecdata is, by definition, statistically insignificant.

  184. Mark Townend says:

    I don’t doubt my little kitchen sink drama was somewhat atypical, yet as WW pointed out car ownership in London is falling. Perhaps short term hire will fulfill the unusual large load needs of future city dwellers, or taxis, or robocabs, or more and better booked deliveries. I don’t think it’s wise to just assume the current superstore format will continue to dominate the retail environment however, let alone continue to grow uncontested.

    In food the greatest growth in store numbers for the major supermarkets has been in the convenience sector. Perhaps they missed a trick only developing large out of town sites in the past, and left a fair market share in the hands of smaller competitors whose customers simply refused to drive to edge town superstores. They’ve all since reengaged aggressively with the high street and convenience marketplace with takeovers and large scale new small store expansions.

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/uk-grocers-grow-local-stores-investors-see-convenient-073626233–finance.html#PGn5fl5

  185. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Anomnibus – and there was me thinking we were trying to have a discussion on a transport blog and all the while we are actually engaged in a non competition to out pedant each other. You learn something every day. You could just say you disagree with us and leave it at that. ;-)

    Some of us have taken an active decision not to bother with car based transport and the associated expense. It’s a viable option in much of London and therefore, for some people, the bus / tram / train / tube is the best / sole option available. I recognise you don’t necessarily agree with this but I really don’t see expanded car use and ownership as a viable policy direction in London (or many urban areas seeing extensive growth).

  186. Anomnibus says:

    @WW:

    “Some of us have taken an active decision not to bother with car based transport and the associated expense.”

    So have I. I only bothered to learn to drive ten years ago (I’m in my mid-40s now), and have only actually owned a car for about half that time. I lived for about 35 years without driving at all.

    But I have no illusions as to my ‘specialness’. Yes, car use is dropping in London, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few million of the things around, and few people are going to all that expense unless they really need to. Cars are expensive to own and maintain. Far more so outside the UK than within it.

    In Italy, it costs around €500 just to change the owner of a car. And that five-year ‘No Claims’ thing? It has as many seventeen levels over here, depending on age. And you really don’t want to know how much it costs to own your own car in Denmark.

    Trust me, the UK is a lot less anti-car than many of its citizens realise.

    So I’m fully aware of the trends. Nevertheless, the concept of a door-to-door transport system has clear benefits for many. We may be seeing a transitional period away from the out-of-town behemoths, but I doubt we’ll be seeing any “IKEA Express” stores any time soon. Sometimes, economy of scale really does trump other factors.

    Ordering online has benefits too, but whether that approach will work for all products isn’t certain. I suspect we’ll see a hybrid approach become the norm, with many smaller shops letting you physically look at their wares, while offering to deliver it to your home, so you don’t then have to carry it back with you on the bus.

    And that’s going to cause some big ructions when it comes to transport planning all by itself.

  187. Mark Townend says:

    The IKEA store experience is quite unlike anything else I agree, more an interior design theme park taking you on a gentle nordic ride through their entire catalogue (with little obvious escape or short cut) before letting you loose in their warehouse. It takes an enormous outlet to carry that off successfully, but even there the showroom could be decoupled from the warehouse, perhaps with customers adding to their virtual baskets on their phone as they make their way around including making the expected additional impulse purchases, then paying on exit and arranging delivery.

  188. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – Try this: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/ikea_near_you/croydon_transport.html

    The latest annual figure I have for Ampere Way tram stop dates from 2011, when 803,000 passengers used the stop.

    How does that fit in with your original statement? (“The trams are there primarily for the workers, and for those who only intend to buy a few smaller items.”)

  189. Anonymous says:

    It’s not the only shop. The whole place is my idea of hell – not to mention the traffic on the Purley Way to get there. I use Sutton B and Q and go into Croydon for the other shops. Just IKEA to avoid then I never have to go there again.

    There is also Waddon Marsh, nicely tucked away behind Sainsbury’s that really does serve a lot of shops, if you can bear to take your life in your hands crossing the Purley Way and six badly designed lanes of lunatic drivers. Argos, Sainsburys and Currys although only 100 yards apart, really require a car to visit all three safely. Waddon Marsh also now serves the NEw South Quarter residential area, I suspect this creates a lot of traffic.

  190. Graham Feakins says:

    @Anomnibus – In the light of comments of others, I read your comments again and find them extraordinarily inaccurate insofar as London is concerned (we’re not bothered about Italy and elsewhere, I suggest, to start with).

    One thing you seemed to have omitted reading, or chosen to ignore, is PoP’s comment on 30th June “Anyway you could always get to the store by tram and have it delivered. A very practical solution if you don’t own a car.” PoP includes this link: http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/img/local_store_info/croydon/new-delivery-prices.pdf

    However, you then say “Ordering online has benefits too, but whether that approach will work for all products isn’t certain. I suspect we’ll see a hybrid approach become the norm, with many smaller shops letting you physically look at their wares, while offering to deliver it to your home, so you don’t then have to carry it back with you on the bus.”

    At least three generations of my family, including me, bought everything for our houses from Allders Department store in Central Croydon since 1936 and anything difficult to carry was delivered to the front door (and installed) without additional charge – carpets, curtains, wallpaper, all furniture, kitchen and ‘wash house’ equipment, etc. We went to Allders, discussed the pro and cons with knowledgeable sales staff. If necessary, they came to measure up first. That lasted until c. 2011, when Allders finally fell into incompetent hands. Before then, Allders had a large (private) warehouse on the Purley Way, from which all its goods were dispatched.

    Small stores of all sorts would, could and often still do deliver. In that set I include ‘hi-fi’ equipment and TV’s from Holborn, framed paintings and even produce from my butcher’s and greengrocer’s. None of it ordered online.

    Add to that, IKEA deliver large, telephone directory sized, catalogues to all houses where I live and you can order from there or get a representative to visit (with e.g. sample bits and colours) and measure up and advise/discuss before ordering.

    The fact that Tramlink is so busy around that area (Sunday’s tending to be the heaviest traffic day) means a lot of people are using the trams to visit those, albeit unwelcome to me, retail park shops must mean that they, too are taking advantage of home deliveries, of which I see many from various stores daily, just in my own road.

    It follows that many of your comments fall by the wayside (that’s being polite for “irrelevant”).

  191. timbeau says:

    @Graham F
    The go and choose in store and have it delivered approach is still going strong – John Lewis are good – but two factors have made it less common than it was. Firstly, more people now have motor cars and can collect large items themselves. Secondly, delivery requires there to be someone at home to receive it. The proportion of households with a stay-at-home mum (or even further back, a servant!) to be in to receive said delivery is much smaller than it was fifty years ago – many more people live alone now, or in single-parent households, or in households where both parents continue working after having children.

  192. Mark Townend says:

    Better, more accurately timed deliveries and evening and weekend slots could help enormously to fit in with modern lifestyles. The vague Tuesday afternoon sometime between 13:00 and 18:00 is not really acceptable. Tuesday evening between 7 and 9 would be much better.

  193. Pedantic of Purley says:

    And to put the knife in, he writes: And, yes, you can get stuff delivered too, though you might want to read the small print. Often, deliveries will only be made to a front door. And I’ve seen—first-hand—what happens if your front door also happens to be at the top of a lot of steps because you live on a steep hill.

    Yet if you follow that link you will read that one option has Order delivered to the room of your choice.

    Anomnibus, I am getting multiple complaints about your comments. The objections seem to be about two things. One is pontificating in a very unhelpful way about aspects of life in Britain that you don’t agree with and seem intent on posting your strong opinions here whether relevant or not. The other is that you write a load of stuff (again in a rather, dare I say it, arrogant way) that a bit of simple research would have realised was a either a load of rubbish from the outset or was at least questionable. This substantially diminishes some of your comments which actually have clearly had a lot of thought put into them and are well worth reading.

    One thing I don’t think you appreciate (and I don’t really want a reply on this) is just how much London has changed in the last few years. I don’t mean just physically but also in general attitude and approach. Listening to various talks recently I really do not think you are in tune at all in the way that London is going forward. It is a bit like the colonial days when ladies spent much of their lives in India and could not relate the much changed Great Britain they returned to.

    So for the future what we really want is quality not quantity. And relevance. If you want to comment a lot on life then do as suggested and set up your own website. You can always link to it from a comment here when relevant.

    If things continue as they are then when I have a bit more time I will take steps so that we can vet your comments before they are published.

  194. Mike says:

    Just to emphasise that IKEA itself sees the tram as a significant means of access, for a couple of years it sponsored the tram stop, then called “IKEA Ampere Way”.

  195. Malcolm says:

    @Mike what you say may well be correct, but the first part (“IKEA itself sees…”) does not logically follow from the second (stop-sponsoring) bit. I think IKEA could well have got value for whatever they paid for stop-sponsoring without needing a single customer to actually arrive by tram. The name-recognition alone is probably worth oodles. (The dangleway springs to mind, but that is actually a whole different can of worms-which-probably-don’t-belong-here).

  196. Southern Heights says:

    I think the likes of the retail park will disappear, or at least become much more insignificant over time. For example, see this on IKEA opening a smallish outlet in the mostly pedestrianised area of central Hamburg:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/06/25/uk-ikea-ab-germany-idUKKBN0F01UE20140625

    If they start doing this here, then the large out of town stores can be reduced to distribution depots. Having them in a circle around London means that the delivery vans do not need to go as far (hello electric vehicles), and a delivery can be timed much more accurately (goodbye “Sometime between 13:00 and 18:00″)… Of course having smaller distribution zones also allows for smaller trucks (most of the time I’ve had a truck come and deliver something it’s half empty) making for less congestion…

    And then we’ll have room for street running trams! ;-)

  197. Rational Plan says:

    1st the big growth in Retail is in Clicks and Bricks. In other words Order online and pick up yourself in your own car. This is especially suited to out of town stores with easy parking.

    We all have ordered online and the vagaries of different companies delivery policies can be off putting. A lot of companies still only give vague delivery times using standard postal or courier companies. Fine if they will leave it your mat or it can fit through your post box. But the joy of discovering that you have to drive to couriers warehouse on an industrial estate 30 miles away to pick up a computer bag (thanks Dell), or watching the delivery man write ‘we are sorry we tried to deliver note’ as they get out the van, and drive off as you chase them down the street. Has made me wary of some delivery promises.

    Now some companies have improved their delivery option, offering designated delivery days or even mornings and afternoons. But they often charge a premium for such a service.

    Only the supermarkets offer deliveries timed to the hour.

    The reasons are obvious though, the supermarkets have lots of shoppers who want goods weekly, in close proximity to their stores. They limit how much they deliver from anyone store though, as they only have so many slots on their carefully planned delivery routes.

    Other store have less frequent shoppers so carefully planned delivery options are difficult. Smaller stores can’t even run their own national delivery schemes so of course farm it out to courier companies.

    Clicks and Bricks allows customers to order infrequently held items (especially in smaller stores) to be sent out to a local stores where you can easily pick it up and often try it on. If you have a problem instead of lugging it to the post office you can just return it to the local store.

    So for non bulky items click and collect is the way forward for many. This is the future for many retail chains. A reasonable number of large stores in major markets, for people to sample merchandise in person, combined with smaller out of town units for easy local delivery.

    Delivery is still available for others whose schedule makes it easy to accept what delivery options are available.

    In short out of town retail is going nowhere and will continue to expand. As councils show now end in ratcheting up parking controls in their town centres, retail parks become ever more desirable.

  198. Mark Townend says:

    Click and collect can equally apply to a pick up on foot operation from a high street, rail station outlet, or even a pick up locker operation, with onward carriage by public transport for many smaller items such as clothing or the customers’ own vehicle. The out of town car pick up units you refer to can be significantly smaller and less elaborate than many existing out of town stores too and they can be more numerous and spread around in smaller suburban malls.

    It is not universally true that parking is being squeezed everywhere. Recently some towns have actually deliberately reduced parking charges, for instance here in Torbay a simple £2.00 charge now enables you to park all day in any council run car park. The ticket once purchased is valid for multiple sites and multiple visits, and rather like paper travelcards there have been problems with people selling or passing them on after use.

  199. Graham H says:

    @Mark Townend – the tickets don’t have to be interchangeable between sites for them to be transferred between successive users – happens all the time at our local car park – “I’ve still got an hour and a half on this, if it’s any use to you”…

  200. timbeau says:

    @Graham H
    …. which is why many now require you to put in your registration number before they will issue you a ticket.

    Pay and Display is always going to result in overpayments, as people have to guess how long they’re going to stay. Probably unavoidable for on-street parking, but pay on exit is much fairer (probably why so few operators do it).

    The iniquitous pay and display at our local hospital has been likened to being required to bet on how long granny has got. (Fee of £3.80 per hour – actually that’s a minimum as no change is given if by some chance you don’t have the exact money)

  201. Rational Plan says:

    Don’t get me started on some hospitals that charge 24 hours a day, when all the local buses have long stopped and most of the staff gone home. I can remember trying to scrape together the £3 to visit a seriously ill friend at 9 in the evening in a car park that was 90% empty.

  202. Paying Guest says:

    @Rational Plan

    “Only the supermarkets offer deliveries timed to the hour”. Not so.

    We have at least 2 courier companies (DPD and Interlink) who deliver products to us on behalf of retailers who offer deliveries timed to the hour, and usually the driver arrives within a few minutes of the start of the one hour window.

  203. GarryB says:

    To revert to Tramlink’s operational problems, it doesn’t look that far on Google sat view from the existing platform 10 at Wimbledon to the out-of-station ground behind Hartfield Crescent. Has somebody decided that two platforms there would be unacceptable to the travelling public? Try walking from the rear of the combined Edinburgh/Glasgow sleeper to the barriers at Euston, or just consider the walk needed in some Tube stations, to see what we’re expected to do routinely. The cost of a simple covered walkway with a couple of horizontal airport-style travelators would, I suspect, be a fleabite compared with that of some of the schemes currently being considered to develop the system.

  204. Anomnibus says:

    @GarryB:

    But how would people get to the new platforms from the existing ones? Presumably, platform 10 would then be taken over by a mainline service, so you couldn’t just walk off the end of the platform, under the concrete raft, and out to these new platforms because people would keep getting killed by passing mainline trains, and that wouldn’t look good on South West Trains’ company brochure. That means climbing up to street level, then crossing a very busy road before heading back down to track level again.

    As an interchange, it’ll be much worse than what’s there now.

    The ideal location for a tram stop is directly before the station entrance, eliminating the need to cross the busy road, and also reducing the “upstairs-across-downstairs” interchange currently required from other platforms to just a single “upstairs” phase.

    But that’s not feasible without performing expensive surgery on Wimbledon itself.

  205. Theban says:

    @Anomibus

    I suspect you might not be familiar with Wimbledon station. Underneath the walkway on platforms 9 and 10 is quite a large area which leads to lifts. See http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/SME/html/NRE_WIM/plan.html?rtnloc=WIM

    In that area there would be room for stairs facing in the other direction. They could be beyond platform 10 if that reverted to a mainline running line – there is space there which will be used for the doubling of the tram platform. Stopping the tram just short of Wimbledon station as some has suggested does seem entirely feasible with stairs within the station complex so no need to cross a busy road as you suggest. It would take a fair bit of redevelopment of the station but on the plan and the basis of visual inspection it seems what some people are suggesting might be possible.

  206. Anomnibus says:

    @Theban:

    “I suspect you might not be familiar with Wimbledon station.”

    You suspect wrong. I’ve used Tramlink a fair few times, and have seen the platforms in question with my own eyes. I may get a bit hazy about some details, but I did commute through Wimbledon for nearly two years, so I’m quite familiar with that particular station. In any case, the late Stephen J. Parascandolo’s website has some rather useful photographs. I don’t see this cavernous space people seem to believe exists here. I do see an awful lot of inconveniently sited support pillars.

    Furthermore, take a look at this view of the site. Tramlink is the line curving southwards, but restoring a mainline service to platform 10 would mean replacing that short single track section with a track heading along the mainline itself towards the south-west, while Tramlink is cut back to a new pair of platforms behind Hartfield Crescent instead.

    How do you get people from platforms 9/10 over to your new Tramlink platform without crossing that new mainline track?

  207. timbeau says:

    @Theban
    The diagrammatic plan is not to scale – the stairs take up more than half the width of platform 9/10, and access to the lifts is via a very narrow passage. And, as Anomnibus says, if P10 is reused for NR trains, a bay in between P9/10 would not be accessible from the Mitcham direction without crossing the new down St Helier line on the flat.

    So, any removal of trams from platform 10 is likely to require all tram passengers to use the stairs to reach the trains – which is what they all have to do at the moment, except for the few transferring to Thameslink (and there can’t be many of them, as for most destinations changing at Mitcham Junction would be quicker)

    What might be possible is to have a tram stop at street level, linked by ramps/escalators/lifts to passages leading under the road to the country end of each platform. I’m not sure whether there is room to squeeze such passages in among the forest of pillars supporting the raft (it might be possible to do it for the terminal platforms used by the Underground, if not SWT’s platforms). Of course, “revenue protection” might scupper anything so convenient.

    It is unlikely anything like this would be contemplated without a complete rebuild of Wimbledon station, which is unlikely unless XR2 ever gets started.

  208. Theban says:

    The point is that there is room for a new set of stairs facing the opposite direction and sited about where the side barrier line is now. Alternatively during the day a route to new platforms at the same level as the current ones could be created from the shopping centre.

    I am not saying it should be done, merely refuting those who claim it cannot be done.

  209. Theban says:

    There is a problem for those who want to duplicate tram tracks via West Croydon to make that part of the loop bidirectional. There does not seem to be room for a second set of tracks where trams cross the High St just before West Croydon tram stop.

  210. Anonymous says:

    Two buses can pass, so I would think that two trams could. You might have to move the existing ones slightly from my dim memory of driving over the junction

  211. Graham Feakins says:

    And two trolleybuses could in a previous era:

    http://www.southlondonguide.co.uk/croydon/images/trolleybus.jpg

    Today, some track realignment would be required.

  212. Paul says:

    The London and SE RUS description of Wimbledon without CR2 but with the alternative ’5th track from Surbiton’ shows P10 as Thameslink, with P9 as the down slow, with the three fast lines in P6, P7, and P8.

    Presumably therefore Network Rail already have a plan on the back burner to resite the trams, they just haven’t published its details yet.

  213. Theban says:

    Nice picture Graham.

    I think trams are somewhat wider than trolley buses (somebody will have details I am sure) and with the bend the tracks for long trams need somewhat greater separation. In the picture, notice that pedestrians also have to be corralled behind railings at the junction. These days I doubt that would work given the number of people.

  214. Taz says:

    The economics of trolleybus vs trams these days is much affected by size restraints on the former, limited the same as buses. Trams come under a different department! Surely this could be amended, but remember objections to bendy-buses in London.

  215. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Theban – corralling pedestrians behind railings is simply a function of the “fashion at the time” amongst town planners and highway engineers. We now have the fashion of no segregation and “mixed use” allowing everything and everybody to mingle and kill and maim each other with impunity. I dread to think how many tens of millions of pounds have been wasted over the last 50 years as we flit from one form of highway design to the next one and the next one. It would be nice to get a consensus (hah!) and then have a stable approach to highway and pavement designs that lasted for decades thereby avoiding waste and rework. Think of the money and disruption that would be saved. I fear, however, that forever changing standards is a nice way for the industry as a whole to keep itself in business which is why the consensus and stability will never happen – too many vested interests would go bust.

  216. Graham H says:

    @WW – my personal bete noir in this context is the ever changing size of roundabouts which expand and contract with the regularity of a dying star.

    On the point, it is noticeable that in nearly every – all that I have visited – tramways are not fenced off from pedestrians, particularly not in pedestrian precincts; the best known example is probably the Bahnhofstrasse in Zuerich, Freiburg/Breisgau has a good many streets shared by footpassengers and trams, all without railings, and so on. I do not know the Croydon junction in question intimately (although I have passed over it in 630s a good many times) but even the widest trams wouldn’t be more than about 30 cm wider than a standard London trolleybus; given that rail vehicles can pass each other with much less planned clearance than road vehicles, I would be surprised if two trams couldn’t pass at this point.

  217. Theban says:

    @WW

    A cynical view, but possibly an accurate one.

  218. Graham H says:

    @Theban – Surely, “Cynic” is the highest form of acclaim, or as my old tutor put it “Nothing wrong with cynicism”?

  219. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Theban – I do try to remember to take my “anti cynicism” tablets before posting but sometimes I forget. The issue of “streetscapes” hadn’t really caught my attention until a couple of years ago. It’s then that I noticed more and more schemes being brought forward which didn’t seem very logical in their approach. There was a mix of asset replacement (fair enough if pavements or surfaces are damaged / old), aesthetic improvements (questionable), blurring the boundaries between pavements and carriageway (very questionable IMO) and an odd mix of pedestrian / cycle / bus priority or not depending on the individual scheme. The dash to remove gyratories, some of which were ghastly, also caught my attention.

    I really have no issues with councils repairing assets that need replacement nor do I object to pointless railings being removed to stop pedestrians being hemmed in needlessly. However much of the other stuff is dubious and I often cannot see that there is any improvement. I had to cross over two junctions on the reworked traffic scheme in Tottenham at the weekend. Prior to the works it wasn’t exactly nice but you could cross on simple signalised crossings. Now the main flow across the High Road is no longer signalised for pedestrians. To find such a crossing means walking up the High Road and across another road on the way. The next leg used to involve two signalised phases – it now involves three with much, much longer waits. I simply can’t see how any of this can be presented as a benefit if you’re a pedestrian or a bus passenger changing routes (as I was). It’s slower and more dangerous after spending the best part of £20m on the highway elements of the scheme. This is a scheme where I took part in consultation events and spent a lot of time talking to the TfL people to try to understand why they were doing what they were doing so I’m not “moaning” for the sake of it – I did actually engage with the process and give feedback and tried to approach it with an open mind. Ditto for the associated bus changes consultation where my comments were ignored (as usual). As a result shops in Tottenham get less of my money than they used to do as I don’t have a direct bus anymore.

    My views about these highway schemes haven’t changed very much having seen the plans move from sketches to reality. Works in Twickenham Town Centre have destroyed long standing bus stops which allowed a quick and easy change between routes which meet and then diverge in the town centre. Now you face a walk across several roads to change routes. Southall is also being reworked and part of that scheme removes a bus lane thus slowing down some of the busiest bus routes in London (207. 427 and 607). Southall is a traffic nightmare on a good day but making it worse? I don’t get it I’m afraid.

  220. Graham Feakins says:

    Reverting to the West Croydon road junction (Tamworth Road/North End/London Road/Station Road), here is a recent street view viewed in the direction of tram operation:

    http://tinyurl.com/l6ao4op

    Scroll around for the view down Tamworth Road. Buses use the tram route in both directions. The main difference between today and yesteryear is that today the traffic lights selectively permit trams, buses and other traffic over the junction from Tamworth Road, on the one hand, and buses & other traffic to exit Station Road and cross over to Tamworth Road (or turn into London Road/North End) on the other hand. In other words, no traffic flows actually cross one another simultaneously.

    For the trams, an additional track coming down Station Road would simply be interlaced over the road junction itself and would otherwise follow today’s traffic lights. An example of interlaced track on Tramlink here (albeit far longer than would be required at West Croydon):

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mitcham_tramstop_interlaced_track_west.JPG

  221. Pedantic of Purley says:

    I can’t remember much about the town development plan not having looked at it for over a year. But I do remember it did incorporate provision to make it possible for a future tram track to come south down London Road and turn left to join the track to West Croydon. Goodbye Maplins I suspect.

    Whether that will make it into reality and whether a tram track will actually be laid along it is another matter. Longer term one could imagine it getting as far as Thornton Heath Pond (actually it hasn’t been a pond since the 1950s). Only going this far would be still be useful and not be so affected by TfL’s main objection (having been once bitten in West London) that there is nowhere for the traffic to go to – at least it is not the A23 on this section so we are not talking about through traffic.

  222. Ian J says:

    @PoP: south down London Road and turn left to join the track to West Croydon

    Did trams ever make this turn before? The Maplins building looks to have a classic “tramway corner”, often seen on early 20th century intersections where the building line was rounded to ease the curve for trams. Or it could just be part of that moderne architectural style.

    Only going this far would be still be useful

    The hospital would seem a particularly useful destination on the way.

  223. Graham Feakins says:

    @Ian J – Short answer is yes but normally only on depot workings between Thornton Heath Depot and West Croydon to serve the Crystal Palace/Penge routes. An early photo shows the curve from London Road into Station Road here:

    http://thewheelsucker.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/stationroadwestcroydon.jpg

    The road layout hasn’t changed since, as such. West Croydon station and its frontage was rebuilt in 1937 substantially to the form shown today but that made no impact on where the tramlines were (the coming of the trolleybuses did that!).

    Trams also ran every 3 minutes until 1951 ‘straight through’ between Purley and The Embankment on London Road/North End but that’s another tale; here’s some more information for interest:

    http://www.trolleybus.net/subhtml/Picture57.htm

  224. Theban says:

    @Graham Feakins

    Thanks. That photo shows nicely that there isn’t space to duplicate across the junction without demolition.

    If by interlace you mean bi-directional running over a single track at this point, then I have reservations about whether the junction could cope with the tram flows like that. All other sections of bi-directional running on the network are on the arms which of course only see a portion of the total traffic.

  225. ChrisMitch says:

    The junction in question is not especially busy – there is not much through traffic except for buses at present, as North End is just a ‘stub’ which leads to the pedestrian section.

  226. Theban says:

    The junction is busy with bus routes crossing and converging plus pedestrians. There is increasing shopping activity north of West Croydon – catering for Croydon’s multicultural population in a way the main high street never can. There is also a Lidl supermarket not far from the junction.

    However, I think the problem would come if you tried to run 12tph (trams per hour in this case) to/from Wimbledon plus say another 12tph round the Croydon loop. That would be a total of 36 tph across a single section of bi-directional track which is only available part of the time because it is also shared with buses and has to cope with buses and pedestrians crossing.

  227. Ian J says:

    @Graham Feakins: What a great photograph! An interesting contrast with the modern-day view. A bit unfair perhaps as Google seem to have driven past when the shops were shut, but it is striking how much more the current street environment is dominated by the needs of motor vehicles rather than pedestrians. People were happy to walk much closer to the trams because they knew they would not swerve and run them over like a bus might.

    I wonder whether there will ever be a tram heading for Crystal Palace there again, and whatever happened to the statue on top of the photographic studio?

  228. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Theban – I really don’t see what the fuss is about. You could easily remodel the junction and tracks to get two tracks through. If you can run three frequent services over interlaced tracks with passing only on the canal bridges in Leidestraat in Amsterdam you can run 18 tph on a dual track alignment past West Croydon. We do fret about “impossible things” when our European neighbours run trams through complex junctions or interlaced tracks without blinking. All we lack in this country is the relevant expertise and experience. You can see the same thing with all the fretting, delay and criticism about cycling infrastructure. The work is crawling along at a snail’s pace because no one has sufficient expertise to design infrastructure that works. Even the latest “splash” about changes for Vauxhall drew instant criticism based on an artist’s impression.

  229. Theban says:

    @WW

    Yes you can demolish a building and get two tracks through but other than that it isn’t possible. At present east bound trams crossing the trams to West Croydon pass within about 2m of the south side pavement. Because it is not a straight junction but is rather a dogleg, the present tracks are where they need to be. There isn’t room to move them north without demolishing the Maplins building.

    Trams aren’t like trolley buses – at least ours aren’t. In Belgium buses and trams would probably share this junction without traffic lights or signals for the trams. And yes, in Belgium you could probably run a total of 36tph plus buses across this junction. But we treat trams much more like trains. Our trams have signals everywhere. This junction has traffic lights. Cycling from one direction to the reverse, or cycling to/from allowing cross-traffic takes time and that’s why interlacing wouldn’t work here although it might work in other countries.

    Equally a lot of European trams in places like Brussels, Ghent, Helsinki and Tallinn have very much shorter and narrower tram cars than we have in Croydon so they make poor comparisons. I cannot comment on Amsterdam because I haven’t seen them – I suspect it is a mix. Strasbourg might be a better comparison because their trams are very similar to the Croydon ones but the only section with a high frequency runs through centre of town and I don’t recall any interlaced running there.

    It matters because other visitors to this site blithely say just run tracks for west bound trams down Wellesley Road and down past West Croydon station. It simply isn’t practical.

    If the bus station is reconfigured then it might be possible to reverse traffic flow on Poplar Rd and run west bound trams down there. Whether the junction would then work is unclear because it would be rather more than a right angle and quite tight. Possibly but I think it would take a detailed survey to be sure. I still maintain it would be a nonsense anyway. George St tram stop to West Croydon station is a 5 minute walk so I cannot see any reason to change.

  230. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes) says:

    @WW

    “We do fret about “impossible things” when our European neighbours run trams through complex junctions or interlaced tracks without blinking.”

    Isn’t the Manchester Metrolink tram triangle junction just past Piccadilly Gardens a similar crowded area, with numerous switches and track curves weaving through a large pedestrianized area?

  231. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes) says:

    Perhaps new trams such as this prototype R1 Uraltransmash would command more respect on the roads of Croydon…

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/urban/single-view/view/russia-one-tram-prototype-revealed.html

  232. Southern Heights says:

    @LBM (des A): Reminds me of the sandworms in Dune!

  233. Mark Townend says:

    George Street to West Croydon is about 700 metres on foot, albeit through a pedestrianised street environment, yet very busy with shoppers at times, and open to the elements throughout. I don’t think Poplar Walk would be a practical tram route without demolition of buildings opposite its junction with North End, and it’s certainly possible that any practical alternative might require some demolition in the area. A station development scheme could include removal of the Forbidden Planet and Maplin buildings and the remainder of the railway side shops on Station Road. That might make sufficient space to accomodate a double tram track if it can’t be fitted in the existing road space.

    The loop design was conceived with the idea that trams on all routes would reverse in the centre around the loop, serving both main line stations in the process. Wimbledon services would reverse in the centre road at East Croydon. As it turned out there were Wimbledon trains crossing the town to and from the eastern branches from the very beginning and these have been retained and expanded ever since. Meanwhile West Croydon has become ever more important with its new London Overground terminus and its bus station, yet it is hobbled with its awkward interchange with the westbound Wimbledon Tramlink.

    I was also critical of the one-way town centre bus loop in Reading, introduced around the same time in 2000, and ensuring that the main east-west cross town route, the 17 westbound, had to pass through the town centre at its extreme south extent, with a stop hidden in a back street near the new Oracle shopping centre and about as far as an allegedly central stop could possibly be from the railway station. The 17 eastbound stop remained on Friar Street near where the westbound also used to call; a much shorter and easier to navigate walk from the station. I think the one way loop concept was a fashionable idea in planning at the time, perhaps useful where routes all terminate in the centre, but it didn’t really suit either the Croydon or Reading application because of the important cross town routes, and the heavy rail interchange potential which couldn’t be served equally in both directions. With Reading station redevelopment, there are now bus route changes underway that will improve the interchange situation greatly there. Perhaps it should also soon be Croydon’s turn to untangle its loop.

    Jarrett Walker doesn’t like loops either:
    http://www.humantransit.org/loops/

  234. Graham H says:

    @LBM – the nearest tram equivalent to the darkened window 4X4s so loved by Russian oligarchs?

  235. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Theban – we must agree to disagree. I am reasonably familiar with Croydon, its trams plus trams on many system across the world. I don’t need to be treated as if I am some sort of clueless numpty. I really don’t see that mass demolition would be needed at West Croydon. I did double check the roads on Google Streetview before I posted. Road, pavement and tram track adjustments – yes. If we have trams in the UK then we really, really should be adopting best practice from those countries who have decades of accumulated expertise in threading tram tracks through constrained central areas with nary a worry or concern. Not every tram or trolleybus that weaves their way through narrow streets, junctions, historic archways and round tight turns is a single PCC car or a 10 metre bus. Many are multiple section, wide bodied units and they cope perfectly well.

    The more I see of our attempts to do the good things that Europe does in terms of city transport the more I despair – bus lanes, tram lines, cycle routes, shared space. We’re getting all of them wrong and wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on rubbish that will have to be undone a few years hence at more cost and having imposed ridiculous delays in the meantime. The National Audit Office will have a field day raking through all that waste and poor decision making.

  236. Graham Feakins says:

    Thank you, WW; I feel the need to clear this matter up with Theban. There is no need whatsoever to demolish anything at West Croydon to fit in some contra-flow trams. Remember, Theban, that the idea was to split the services coming from East Croydon westwards, so only a proportion of those travelling westbound would travel via West Croydon (say approx. one third), the remainder going as now via George Street (except when that route is blocked). Even today, the traffic lights can accommodate up to about eight buses and other local traffic per phase crossing the junction (contraflow vis-à-vis the tramway) out of Station Road and yet the eastbound trams wait, if at all, for just a couple of seconds or so at those traffic lights in Tamworth Road.

    Theban, I suggest that you are also behind the times with tram lengths in Brussels:

    http://www.simplonpc.co.uk/Tram_Brussels/4018_090323-3727_b.jpg

    That’s longer than any Croydon tram.

    Finally, I fear that my illustration of interlaced track didn’t suffice. WW has provided a good example in Amsterdam and here’s a view of what he has in mind:

    http://austinrailnow.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/arn1_ams-lrt-leidsestraat-2-views_cmp0.jpg

    What would be constructed at West Croydon need not be so confined in width, rail-wise, as regards the separate eastbound/westbound tracks and then over a distance of a mere 30 metres or so across the junction itself.

    The advantage of interlaced track is that no moving pointwork is required. The layout can be designed to suit the road configuration.

    So, Theban, where you say “Because it is not a straight junction but is rather a dogleg, the present tracks are where they need to be. There isn’t room to move them north without demolishing the Maplins building.”, there is no need for those rails to be moved anywhere, whilst the rails of any future westbound line would simply merge (as interlaced track) to fit through the stricture just across the width of North End/London Road at the junction. Easy. Nobody would be inconvenienced, whether on the trams etc. or as pedestrians.

  237. AlisonW says:

    interlaced aka ‘gauntlet’

  238. Ian J says:

    @Theban: But we treat trams much more like trains

    And therein lies the problem, I suspect. Manchester has recently greatly increased the capacity of its network by ripping out most of its railway-style signalling and moving to stop-on-sight operation.

  239. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Mark Townend

    I think the one way loop concept was a fashionable idea in planning at the time, perhaps useful where routes all terminate in the centre, but it didn’t really suit either the Croydon or Reading application because of the important cross town routes, and the heavy rail interchange potential which couldn’t be served equally in both directions.

    In Croydon’s case it wasn’t so much a case of wanting to do it but more one of have very little other option. It was never the original plan to have a loop.

    It was always intended that trams would serve North End (the main shopping street) in both directions. When cars were removed from North End, at around the time Tramlink was conceived, buses were allowed to remain and the street re-landscaped with a narrower road to reflect that it was bus only. It was rather like pedestrian precinct with a dedicated bus lane and bus stops. Whether or not it was intended that buses would remain once the trams came I do not know but I suspect not.

    Unfortunately there were a couple of deaths when pedestrians stepped into the road without looking and it was presumed they were lulled in thinking that the street was fully pedestrianised. So the buses had to go elsewhere and the idea of putting trams through a previously pedestrianised street was now considered politically infeasible.

    What followed was a rethink and basically the plan was to rescue the original plan but manage without sending trams down North End. So the loop was born as an achieveable alternative. Of course the great irony is that trams now run down George St (West), Church Street and Crown Hill which are all pretty much de facto tram only routes.

    I don’t think fashion came into it – only necessity.

  240. Long Branch Mike (des acronymmes de nouveau) says:

    @GH

    “the nearest tram equivalent to the darkened window 4X4s so loved by Russian oligarchs?”

    Apparently so – this website, in the original Russian, shows the novyy Russkiy tramvay up close, inside and out. It’s something a Bond villain would drive, and damn the proletariat who get in the way!

    http://varlamov.me/ru/novyy-russkiy-tramvay

    I can already sense the Americans secretly designing an even more powerful, yet stealthy, tram design to counter it (but made in China).

  241. Graham H says:

    @LBM – interesting – seems to have cables lying about underneath in the manner of an Ansaldo Fyra set…

  242. Mark Townend says:

    http://www.townend.me/files/tramlink.pdf

    Latest version of my Tramlink document shows on page 2 a section across the Wellesley Road Transit Boulevard, with the northbound general traffic carriageway sunk in a tunnel, containing a service and parking access lane to the left to avoid conflict with transit and pedestrians above. Beyond Wellesey Road station in each direction, bus and tram traffic share the same transit lane, making more space for landscaping, pedestrians and cycles.

  243. Theban says:

    @Mark Townend

    I continue to disagree with you and others about the north end junction but let’s park that. Your graphics look fab.

    In your top diagram, why don’t you flip eastbound and westbound in the section between West and East Croydon so that eastbound trams would use Dingwall Rd? It would avoid two crossovers.

  244. Greg Tingey says:

    GF
    Can’t see that tram being made for public use, with a front-end deliberately designed to trap people underneath it, somehow?

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