Could Transport for London be about to back down over its proposed changes to the tram network? JEREMY CLACKSON reports
Transport for London’s plan to radically alter the tram service from New Addington and Elmers End to Wimbledon, due to be introduced in two weeks’ time, may have been shunted into a siding.
Inside Croydon exclusively revealed the service alterations earlier this month. They will see a reduction in trams from Elmers End and the end of a through-service from New Addington to Wimbledon, all in an effort to “reduce bunching” on the network. Our report highlighted the complete absence of any of the usual consultation expected for service alterations of this kind.
The proposals are, of you are a New Addington resident, possibly the biggest down-grade of the service since the network opened in 2000.
And according to sources at City Hall, it is the lack of consultation, and the formal complaints arising as a consequence, which have forced TfL to reconsider its plan to introduce the service changes with effect from November 5.
The changes are, in part, a response to speed limits introduced at key points across the network since the Sandilands derailment tragedy, in which seven people died, the first anniversary of which is next month.
Croydon councillors have expressed publicly their concerns about the lack of consultation, the changes to service, and also raised disquiet about the inappropriateness and lack of consideration by making the service changes so close to the anniversary of tram crash.
Simon Hall, the Labour councillor for Fieldway ward which is served by the New Addington branch of the tram network, raised these concerns last week at public transport liaison committee at the Town Hall, a meeting attended by TfL officials. There was no indication given then that the proposed changes to the service would not be going ahead.
Stuart King, the Labour council’s cabinet member for transport, failed to respond this afternoon to Inside Croydon’s invitation to comment on the proposals.
Inside Croydon has made repeated, formal attempts to obtain the timetable, for the tram operations due to commence from November 5. Transport for London has so far been unable to provide any revised timetable. The expectation would usually be, with the changes due to begin in two weeks’ time, that the timetable would already be available in the public domain.
The suspicion among City Hall officials is that there will be a pause before the change to the service are introduced, to allow for some box-ticking questionnaires to be distributed, returned, read and then duly ignored, before TfL then goes ahead with what it intended to do in the first place. It just won’t now be starting from November 5.
The changes to the service, when they are introduced, will be:
- Beckenham Junction departures will now go to Wimbledon, via East Croydon and Church Street. The service will run every 10 minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak. Passengers on these trams will not be able to get to West Croydon without changing.
- Elmers End departures will run to Wimbledon during day time, but only at six an hour. Off-peak these trams will go round the Croydon loop (East Croydon-George Street-Church Street-Centrale-West Croydon-East Croydon) only.
- Trams from New Addington will now only run round the Croydon loop, with a seven- to eight-minute peak time service. Tram passengers from New Addington will not be able to get to Wimbledon without changing. This represents a return to the service which was available when the trams first began operations in 2000.
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