The tram network, one of the rare things in and around Croydon that still worked properly, is close to breakdown, according to an urgent message put out yesterday by Transport for London.
According to Mark Davis, TfL’s general manager for the service, “London Tram services will be significantly disrupted this week due to wheel damage being found on inspection on some of our trams.”
Davis explained: “This has resulted in a number of trams being removed from service for repair.”
Transport for London did not respond to Inside Croydon enquiries regarding the actual number of trams removed from service, or to explain how the wheels had become damaged.
“This work is essential to ensure tram reliability is maintained and services can run smoothly,” Davis said of those works in April.
The fleet operating on the network, which runs services from Beckenham through Croydon and Sutton to Wimbledon, comprises 35 twin carriage trams. Of these, 24 CR4000 trams built by Bombardier have been in service since the network opened in 2000 and are getting close to the point where TfL will need to replace them.
Of the Bombardier trams, at least two, including 2551, the vehicle involved in the 2016 tram crash at Sandilands in which seven people died, have been reported to be out of commission.
In an official TfL report drafted earlier this year, London transport officials noted that the Bombardier trams “are experiencing declining reliability and have one of the lowest states of good repair categorisations across our fleets”.
Regular tram users have since the end of last year become accustomed to service messages which have apologised for delays due to a lack of available rolling stock – presumed due to repairs to the fleet.
But yesterday’s notification represents a significant ramping up on the TfL formal apology register.
“We are working hard to resolve the issue as quickly as possible so normal services can resume,” Davis said, advising, “Please check before you travel and allow more time for your journey.”
“We are sorry for any disruption this will cause.”
TfL’s service updates on its official website this morning showed “Good service” on the tram network.
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