The Croydon Tramlink officially opened on 10th May 2000, and the last part of the network to come in to use was the route from Elmers End to Wimbledon, on 30th May 2000.
Approval by the government for the tram scheme, as well as one for Birmingham, was granted on 13th December 1994, as reported in the Financial Times the next day.
Tram schemes win approval
Approval for tram systems to be built in Birmingham and the south London borough of Croydon was granted by the government yesterday. Both will be funded by a mix of pub¬lic and private capital.
Detailed proposals for the schemes, which are expected to require a total investment of £305m, have been prepared by private sponsors and local authorities. They were delayed for several years while awaiting government approval.
The schemes will depend on the private sector making a “significant” contribution to the total cost, Mr Brian Mawhinney, the transport sec-retary, said.
London Transport, one of the backers of the Croydon Tramlink, said the government’s statement represented an important step forward, but West Midlands Passenger Transport Authority criticised it as requiring too large a financial contribution from local authorities.
If the two schemes do proceed they will represent a significant boost to light rail systems in the UK. Manchester began operating trams in 1992, followed by Sheffield this year. Before that British cities had neglected trams for decades.
Croydon Tramlink is a 17-mile network aimed at speeding up journey times between Wimbledon, Croydon, Beckenham and New Addington. London Transport and Croydon Borough Council believe the private sector would be willing to provide more than half the £160m cost.
The Midland Metro would link central Birmingham with Wolverhampton over 13 miles of track, with the private sector contributing about £10.5m to the £145m cost.
Mr Richard Worrall, chairman of the West Midlands PTA, said it had already spent or promised £13m to aid preparations for the project. “We are being asked to commit further capital from resources we do not have,” he said.
Proposals for Croydon Tram¬link have been drawn up by a private consortium comprising German engineering group AEG, Tarmac Construction and Transdev, an operator of trams in France, but the project would be put out to open competition. The Midland Metro contract has already been won by a consortium comprising John Laing, the UK construction group, and Ansaldo Trasporti, an Italian supplier of rail systems.
Local residents received letters warning them of the construction that was in progress for the conversion of the railway line near their homes into tram track.
A leaflet explained the system:
Welcome to our brand new local transport system
Tramlink’s 28km (18 miles) of track links Croydon to Wimbledon, Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington, allowing fast and efficient travel across South London and linking to many important train and bus routes, thus opening up a tremendous number of journey options for residents and visitors alike.
Our 24 new trams serve 38 stops along three routes, shortening journey times, reducing road traffic and pollution. Trams travel at up to 80km per hour in off street areas but run at low speed in pedestrian streets in Croydon town centre.
How Tramlink is starting
Tramlink’s three routes are opening in stages, starting with route 3 between New Addington and Croydon.
The initial timetables provide frequent services, every 7 minutes in the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays on route 3, and every 12 minutes on routes 1 and 2. Services will be monitored and timetables are subject to change.
Buying a Ticket
Tickets can be purchased from automatic ticket machines at all tram stops.
Full instructions are given on the machines, which accept both coins and notes and give change.
1. Each ticket machine has a wheel, which can be turned to select the destination required from a list displayed on screen.
2. When destination is highlighted simply press the green OK button located in the centre of the wheel.
3. Now turn the wheel again to select a ticket type from the choice available. Press the green OK button.
4. Check the details on the screen are correct and insert payment.
5. The ticket and any change can be collected from the slot below.
If change runs out a refund voucher is issued, which you can change at the Tramlink shop (in person or by post – we will refund postage costs), or ask a ticket inspector.
Tickets and Passes
The following tickets and passes are valid for journeys on Tramlink:
»Single/Return Tickets – please buy from the ticket machine at the tram stop or in the Tramlink shop. Single fares are 90p for any journey from Beckenham Junction, Elmers End or New Addington to the Zone 3 boundary at Morden Road or intermediately. For longer distance journeys which cross the Zone 3 boundary, the single fare is £1.30. Children aged 5-13 inclusive pay 40p single, also children aged 14 and 15 with a valid child rate photocard; child rate tickets are not sold for journeys starting between 2200 and 0429 – at these times the adult fare applies. Two accompanied children under 5 travel free. Return tickets (to avoid having to buy two tickets), cost twice the single fare.
» Bus/Tram Tickets for through transfer trips from bus routes T31, T32, T33, which cost the same as the tram only fare.
» Bus and Tram combined One Day Passes – buy from the Tramlink shop or PASS agents.
» LT Travelcards / LT Cards – Zones 4,5 or 6 Travelcards and LT Cards may be used anywhere on Tramlink except between Merton Park and Wimbledon, where Zone 3 validity is necessary.
» Freedom Passes issued by London Boroughs to Elderly, Disabled and Blind People are valid for free travel on Tramlink.
» LT Bus Passes are not valid on Tramlink.
For full details of tickets and passes validity, please see information on tram stops. A number of other ticketing initiatives are being developed and will be publicised at a later date.
Examples of tickets: