Spanning a 17 mile long route, the London Tramlink runs through central Croydon from Wimbledon, Beckenham, Elmers End and New Addington
TfL took over the running of trams in 2008 and completely refurbished the network. A total of 34 trams run in a circle round Croydon and then carry on west and east for 39 stops.
Since 2000, the number of passengers on the network has increased from 14 million to around 30 million today, and this is expected to reach nearly sixty million by 2030.
An upgrade to the trams network is acknowledged to be needed to accommodate this growth. Trams for Growth summarises TfL’s proposed 20-year plan to accommodate growing demand, improve reliability and support the regeneration of Croydon town centre and the wider south London.
An older model tram arrives at Birkbeck station in 2006
Photo: Ewan Munro
The original fleet comprised 24 articulated low floor Flexity Swift CR4000 trams built by Bombardier Transportation in Vienna numbered beginning at 2530, continuing from the highest-numbered tram 2529 on London’s former tram network, which closed in 1952.
In 2006, the CR4000 fleet was refurbished, with the bus-like destination blinds being replaced by an electronic dot system. In 2009 the fleet was repainted into a new green livery. In January 2011, Tramtrack Croydon opened a tender for the supply of ten new or second-hand trams from the end of summer 2011.
The trams will be used between Therapia Lane and Elmers End. On 18 August 2011, TfL announced that Stadler Rail had won a £16 million contract to supply six Variobahn trams. They entered service in 2012.
In August 2013, TfL ordered an additional four Variotrams for delivery in 2015, for use on the Wimbledon to Croydon link, an order which was later increased to six. This brought the total Variotram fleet up to ten in 2015 and twelve in 2016 when the final two trams were delivered.
Passengers can use a contactless bank card, device or Oyster card to pay for their journey, needing only to touch the yellow reader on the tram platform before boarding. London Trams are cashless with paper tickets no longer available at tram stops.