Croydon’s tram network could face disruption for days to come as a result of the massive fire at the Shurgard self-storage warehouse off the Purley Way on the night of New Year’s Eve.
The fire took nearly three days to be put out, with firefighters, police and specialist engineers only able to go in to the shell of the warehouse on Thursday. The cause of the fire remains the subject of a police investigation, after two arrests were made on Thursday, with one 26-year-old man the subject of on-going enquiries.
It was the largest fire in Croydon since the night of the riots in 2011.
Extraordinarily, on Monday night, trams were allowed to continue to operate, travelling within feet of the burning self-storage warehouse, for two hours, full of passengers on their way home from the shops or to see in the new year with friends, before the network was closed down.
Located adjacent to the tracks between the Waddon Marsh and Ampere Way stops, and wedged between the Purley Way and the turn off the A23 for Ikea, the ruins reman a safety hazard, and is restricting the tram network’s use of its depot nearby.
In a service announcement issued by Transport for London yesterday evening, they said,
“Tram services between Church Street and Mitcham Junction will remain suspended this weekend following a major fire next to the tram tracks on the A23 Purley Way in Croydon.
“Demolition of the building has begun and will continue throughout the weekend. Once the area has been made safe, we will resume the service between these two stations as soon as possible.”
Significantly, TfL did not offer an expected completion time or date for the demolition work. Instead, they advised tram passengers to check service status on Monday morning before travelling.
Meanwhile, “A replacement bus service remains in place and is available, stopping at all stops between these two stations. A limited service is running up to every 15 minutes on the rest of the network.
“We appreciate your patience at this time and are sorry for the disruption this will cause.”
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An amazing lapse in risk management by TFL in allowing trams to pass a few metres from a major incident. You have to ask yourself about the level of competence within this organisation and what other potential risks they are happy to expose travellers and employees to.