Damaged wheels force TfL to take seven trams out of service

EXCLUSIVE: Damage to tram wheels has again forced TfL to take one-third of its fleet out of service for urgent repairs


Light rail: seven of the network’s trams have had to be taken out of service for repairs

Tram passengers face weeks of delayed journeys and crowded carriages, after Transport for London confirmed to Inside Croydon today that one-third of its fleet of trams are out of service for urgent repairs.

It is the second time in little more than a month that trams have been taken out of service for such repairs. In early June, TfL removed seven trams from service for repairs to damaged wheels.

Today, TfL explained that delays and cancelled services in the past week have been caused by damage to the trams’ wheels.

According to a TfL source, there are “14 out of 21 trams operating today”.

And TfL say that they don’t know how long it will take to carry out the necessary repairs and replacements to return to expected service levels.

Tom Singleton, TfL’s head of service delivery for London Trams, told Inside Croydon: “I am sorry for the current delays customers are experiencing on the London Tram network due to a shortage of available trams.

“Through regular safety inspections, we have identified a number of trams with damaged wheels that need to be repaired or replaced. Our engineers will work as quickly as possible to fix the trams, and we expect a normal service to resume in the coming weeks.”

A spokesperson for TfL was unable to say how long the disruption will take.

Most of the trams’ Bombardier rolling stock has been in operation since the network opened in 2000, and so are close to the end of their anticipated operational usefulness. TfL has a budgeted plan for replacements, although the issues with the wheels may force them to bring that forward earlier than first intended.

The situation has become bad enough that TfL has introduced what it calls “enhanced services” on bus routes 64, 289 and 466 to ease some of the demand on the tram network.

“Please check on TfL Journey Planner or the TfL Go app for the latest travel information,” they say.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Damaged wheels force TfL to take seven trams out of service

  1. John says:

    Seems a very short life for a tram. Is train rolling stock replaced in the same timeframes?

  2. yusufaosman says:

    Did I miss the reason for the damaged wheels? Is this natural aging, just happening quicker than was expected, or something to do with sharing the roads particularly in central Croydon?

  3. Tim Longhurst says:

    I’ve heard it said that there are too many sharp bends in the network that result in both track and wheels suffering extreme wear and tear.

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