Brexit problems cause delays to TfL’s tram network repairs

A shortage of trams due to serious damage to the rolling stock’s wheels has forced Transport for London to suspend service on the branch line between Croydon Arena and Elmers End.

No service: the Elmers End branch line of the tram network is closed until more trams are repaired

Inside Croydon reported yesterday how one-third of the network’s trams – seven out of 21 – were out of operation due to wheel damage, causing delays and crowding on those services which have continued to operate.

According to TfL today, the lack of available trams have not only seen the suspension of service to and from Elmers End – with extra buses on routes 64, 289 and 466 at peak times to provide an alternative for passengers – but also delays between New Addington and West Croydon due to a shortage of trams.

The cause of the wheel damage has been identified following engineers conducting track walks discovered a “metal foreign body” on part of the network through Croydon town centre. This has now been removed, according to TfL.

This latest damage was in addition to the wheel damage which caused a reduction in services while repairs were being conducted in early June. TfL ruled out any connection between the “foreign body” and track engineering works carried out in Croydon town centre over the Easter period.

Some of the damaged wheels are being repaired at the depot at Therapia Lane, while others have required replacement wheels and parts.

The delay in getting the damaged trams back into service has been in part, according to a source at TfL, because of Brexit. Essential parts that are being sourced from the EU are taking longer to ship to south London because of post-Brexit customs procedures.

And this has contributed to TfL being unable to say with any certainty when normal service might resume.

“Each tram repair is a major job,” a TfL spokseperson told Inside Croydon today.

“They all take time. But our engineers have been working over the weekened and continue to work to get as many trams back into service as quickly as possible to reduce the disruption to customers as best we can.”

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.

“Please check on TfL Journey Planner or the TfL Go app for the latest travel information,” TfL 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
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2 Responses to Brexit problems cause delays to TfL’s tram network repairs

  1. murrayrj86 says:

    Wonder if there is a connection between this and the fact that trams aren’t using the usual platform at East Croydon when heading towards the town centre. I did note they were also closely observing the track at Wandle Park where one track becomes two – it has been horrendously screechy recently!

  2. Terry D says:

    Surely you must carry some spare wheels back at the Depot?

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