Croydon Tramlink Timetable Archive

Copies of all timetables posted at stops since Tramlink started running will be kept here. Tramlink Timetable information is run jointly by Croydon Tramlink The Unofficial Website and London Bus Routes. This section is maintained by Robert Munster, who can be emailed direct on robert @ londonbusroutes.net (remove the spaces). Many thanks are due to John Kaye, David Reynolds, Roger Triggs and somebody anonymous at East Croydon who have provided much assistance in the compilation of route working information.

Remember that this is not the official site of Croydon Tramlink and no responsibility can be taken for any inaccuracies. Timetables are subject to change and Trams can easily be late (or early!). Croydon Tramlink normally changes timetables from a Sunday. A detailed history of the timetable is given below.

In addition to the individual line timetables, there is a Loop Working Summary showing all trams between Arena and Wimbledon. This shows how lines 1 and 2 combine in the evenings and on Sundays, and how track space is allocated around the town centre. There is also Route Working Information, showing Tram Running Numbers as displayed in the windscreen. During the period of frequent changes this was compiled mostly by observation, and the early files cannot therefore be guaranteed free of errors.

All pages are available as HTML (for viewing) and as PDF (for printing). PDF versions of pages up to and including 12/08/01 were created by John Hewes. To view PDF files, you will need Acrobat Reader. If you don't have it, you can download free readers for Windows, Mac, or UNIX/Linux operating systems. If you still have difficulty printing, try copying the text from the HTML page into a suitable text editor, being sure to use a smallish monospaced font. On some pages there may be minor corrections only effective on the HTML version.

(As will be seen, since 2006 I have only loaded the basic timetables and only in PDF. Some working information for main timetables since then is available and it is hoped to add this if time permits.)

DateLine 1Line 2Line 3L.W.S.R.W.I.Change
11/05/2000  HTML PDF  HTML PDFLine 3 opens
23/05/2000 HTML PDF  Line 2 opens
30/05/2000HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLine 1 opens
12/06/2000HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLine 3 to contract frequency
26/06/2000HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLines 1/2 to contract running time
16/07/2000HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLines 1/2 to contract frequency
03/12/2000HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLines 1/2 reduced to every 11 minutes except AM peak
12/08/2001HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFLines 1/2 contract frequency restored
10/12/2005HTML PDFHTML PDFHTML PDFCentrale stop opens
Routeings revised
23/07/2006 PDF PDF PDF Line 3 extend to Wimbledon in place of line 1
20/07/2008 PDF PDF PDF Evening/Sunday increase
10/11/2008 PDF PDF PDF Lines 1/2 reduced to every 12 minutes
23/07/2009 PDF PDF PDF Track work phase 1
31/07/2009 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
03/08/2009 PDF PDF PDF Track work phase 2
11/08/2009 PDF PDF PDF Track work phase 3
01/09/2009 PDF PDF PDF Track works over-run (hybrid phase)
07/09/2009 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
14/12/2009 PDF PDF Lines 1/2 AM peak restored to every 10 minutes
21/08/2010 PDF PDF PDF Track works - 03/08/09 timetable re-introduced
31/08/2010 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
20/04/2011 PDF PDF PDF Track works - 23/07/09 timetable re-introduced
26/04/2011 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
31/05/2011 PDF Line 3 Mon-Fri early evening service improved
25/06/2012 PDF PDF PDF Introduction of Line 4 (included on Line 1 timetable)
24/05/2014 N/A PDF Addiscombe bridge works (Line 4 inc with Line 2)
02/06/2014 PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
09/08/2014 PDF PDFPDF Track works (new timetable) - Line 4 suspended
18/08/2014 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
25/10/2014 PDF PDFPDF Track works (new timetable) - Line 4 suspended
03/11/2014 PDF PDF PDF Normal timetable re-introduced
14/12/2014 PDF Line 3 Sunday increase

Christmas/New Year special timetables

The pattern of operation over Christmas and New Year has varied since system opening and also depending on which day of the week Christmas Day and New Year's Day fall. For 2014-2015 the pattern is as follows:
Wednesday 24 December: Monday to Friday service with a reduce evening frequency. Special timetable for Lines 1/4 | Line 2 | Line 3
Thursday 25 December: No service.
Friday 26 December: Sunday service
Saturday 27 December: Normal Saturday service
Sunday 28 December: Normal Sunday service
Monday 29 December: Saturday service
Tuesday 30 December: Saturday service
Wednesday 31 December: Saturday service, which some minor adjustments late evening to interface with the overnight service
Thursday 1 January: During the night, trams run every 30 minutes on both lines 2 and 3, with line 2 extended to Wimbledon. During the day, a Sunday service operates with some minor amendments in the early morning. Special timetable for Lines 1 | Line 2 | Line 3
Friday 2 January: Saturday service

System opening

As originally planned there were to be three basic routes, the 1 from Elmers End via Croydon to Wimbledon, the 2 from Beckenham Junction to central Croydon and the 3 from New Addington to central Croydon. The 2 and 3 would operate right round the town centre one-way-loop, with the 1 only serving one half of the loop in each direction. However, during the evenings and on Sundays Line 2 would run beyond Croydon, parallelling the 1, as far as Beddington Lane stop.

Tramlink was opened in stages during the spring of 2000, as the sections were approved for passenger service. A full report on the opening can be found here. First to open was Line 3, with normal services commencing on Thursday 11 May after opening ceremony/celebrations the day before. Line 2 opened between Beckenham and Croydon on Tuesday 23 May at 1200 after an opening ceremony, and Line 1 on Tuesday 30 May similarly. The opening of Line 1 allowed depot journeys to be run in service on Lines 2 and 3 from the Tuesday evening, and the evening/Sunday extension of Line 2 to Beddington Lane commenced from this day.

The contracted frequencies differentiate between "peak" (Monday to Saturday daytime) and "off-peak" (after about 1900 daily, before 0800 on Saturdays and all day Sundays). Lines 1 and 2 were originally contracted to run every 10 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes off-peak, but with the line 2 off-peak service extended beyond Croydon to Beddington Lane to provide 4 trams per hour over this section. Meanwhile, the 3 was contracted to run at intervals of 6/7/7 minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes off-peak. The irregular 6/7/7 frequency means that there are exactly 9 trams per hour since 6+7+7+6+7+7+6+7+7=60. To cover this work, Line 1 had a peak requirement for 8 trams on Mondays to Saturdays and an offpeak requirement for 3, the 2 used 5 trams at peaks and 3 offpeak and Line 3 used 8 at peaks and 4 offpeak. In addition, "extras" have been used from time to time when available to help restore the headway after severe disruption. Most timetables have featured a certain amount of cross-working between the 1 and 2 in the evenings on Mondays to Saturdays.

Initially, to allow services to "bed down," a more cautious service was run than that contracted, with a 12 minute Monday to Saturday daytime service on routes 1 and 2 instead of the contracted 10 to allow trams more running time, and a 6/7/7/7/7/7/7 minute pattern on the 3. The odd 6 was to allow the 3 timings to mesh in with the 1 and 2, since 6+7+7+7+7+7+7=48 which is also a multiple of 12. Line 3 was altered to the contracted frequency from 12 June; the Sunday times were not altered, hence the Monday start date. On 26 June the contracted running times were adopted on the 1 and 2, but retaining the lower frequencies; as a result, line 1 only used 7 trams during this period. Finally, on 16 July the contracted frequencies were also adopted on the 1 and 2, with minor running time adjustments on this date also. However, before 16 July working timetables were changed on a weekly basis, but the timetables given here are as published.

Teething problems

Experience with the timetable, difficulty keeping to the tight timings and unexpectedly heavy loadings on route 1 in the evenings and on Sundays resulted in a common sense move taking place on 3 December 2000 in some respects the new timetable exceeded the original contract, in others fell short. Trams thus ran every 11 minutes after about 0900 on Mondays to Saturdays, when it was found that trams were delayed by shoppers, while the Line 2 evening/Sunday extension to Beddington Lane was continued to Wimbledon (this could be done within the existing timings). There were minor adjustments to the Line 3 timetable to avoid clashes with the 1 and 2, meaning that there was no longer a clear pattern during the day.

However, it was decided to restore the full 10 minute service from 12 August 2001. Additionally, the evening and Sunday service was retimed so that trams alternated between trips on Lines 1 and 2, providing all 6 trams out on these routes at these times with even amounts of recovery time, whereas previously those on the (longer) Line 2 had a very tight schedule. Some minor adjustments were made to the running times as well.

Revised routes

A new stop was built in Tamworth Road during 2004/2005, principally to serve the new Centrale shopping development. However, to stop trams at the stop required extra running time, and there was precious little slack in the system. A revised service structure was planned using an additional tram and revised routeings to alleviate this problem, although in the meantime agreement was eventually reached to open the new stop using the old timetable from 10 December 2005.

The new timetable, which started on 23 July 2006, was also designed to address imbalances in loadings, with very heavy peak loadings into Wimbledon and relatively light loadings on the New Addington line. The Croydon - Wimbledon service was switched from Line 1 to Line 3, creating a New Addington - Wimbledon service every 7 minutes, using 13 trams. The Beckenham Junction and Elmers End branches see all trams using the loop apart from early morning and evening depot journeys, with a shared allocation of 9 trams alternating between the two termini, changing route number on departure from East Croydon stop, at the start of the loop. Other than the increase in "peak" frequency to Wimbledon and the decrease to New Addington, there was no change to frequencies. Note that these timetables meant a total of 22 trams in service, compared with 21 prior to that maintenance had to be tightened up.

TfL takes over

In spring 2008 it was announced that TfL had agreed to purchase TCL from its owning consortium not to be confused with TOL, which is still owned by First, and is responsible for day-to-day running. Improvements were promised, and sure enough the long overdue increase in the evening and Sunday frequency on lines 1 and 2 from 2 to 4 trams per hour was implemented from Sunday 20 July 2008. The need for this improvement has been obvious almost from the system's opening, but nothing happened, TCL blaming TfL for refusing to pay and TfL blaming the PFI contract for making such changes "difficult!" Needless to say, TCL coming under TfL ownership solved that problem.

A serious accident in Croydon Town Centre, involving a runaway bus, resulted in one tram having to be returned to Austria for major repairs. As a result, it was not possible to provide 22 trams for service, and a temporary timetable was therefore implemented from 10 October 2008, with the "peak" service on lines 1 and 2 reduced to every 12 minutes using 8 trams rather than 9. One side benefit was that it allowed a completely regular service on the joint section of lines 1 & 2 for the first time ever. This timetable worked so well that the reduced frequency was made permanent. The only problem was in the morning peak where there was insufficient capacity, so after the damaged tram was repaired it was put back into the morning peak service on the 1/2 from 14 December 2009, restoring the 10 minute frequency until approximately 0930.

Major track works summer 2009

Major track works took place during the summer holidays between 23 July and 31 August 2009 inclusive. A normal service operated on 1-2 August due to the Croydon Festival and Lloyd Park Mela. The work was in three phases: Phase 1 (drainage work at Cherry Orchard Road) until 31 July (actually finished early on 30 July), Phase 2 (Track work at George Street/Wellesley Road) between 3 and 10 August inclusive, and Phase 3 (Track work at East Croydon Station) from 11 August.

Phase 1 and phase 3 saw trams suspended between East Croydon and Sandilands only, with a replacement bus service between. Phase 3 used a temporary stop by the George Street crossover, near Dingwall Road, instead of the normal platforms at East Croydon. Phase 2 saw the blockade extended to include the entire town centre loop. In all phases, line 1 was suspended during the evenings and on Sundays, to allow trams to be stabled at Elmers End other trams stabled in the Sandilands tunnel after end of service. Line 2 was increased to every 10 minutes at these times to compensate. Line 3 ran in two sections, with the Wimbledon service reduced to every 10 minutes as there were not enough trams for the full normal frequency. The total tram requirement was reduced by one more to 20, with just 6 needed on the west side (with access to the depot) and 14 east of the blockade in phases 1 and 3, and 5 and 15, respectively, in phase 2.

In the event phase 3 over-ran, but a desire to avoid the bus service when schools returned led to work being concentrated on the east side of East Croydon so that services could be restored that far, with just the west end of the stop still being worked on from 1 to 6 September inclusive. This led to a hybrid operation with trams suspended only between East Croydon and Dingwall Road. Owing to limited turnback facilities at East Croydon, line 1 was reduced to a 1-tram shuttle between Elmers End and Blackhorse Lane, reversing at Addiscombe, with lines 2 and 3 both running every 10 minutes (3 15 evenings as normal). This required 11 trams in total some temporary track allowed some trams to be swapped over and the number on the east side reduced. On 6 September itself the normal phase 3 timetable ran again, with trams cut back to Sandilands to allow for testing at East Croydon, although trams did run through to East Croydon when circumstances permitted.

The Phase 2 timetable ran again from Saturday 21 August to Monday 30 August 2010 inclusive for further track works. The Phase 1 timetable ran again from Wednesday 20 to Monday 25 April 2011 this was the Easter weekend, with a Sunday timetable on the Friday and Monday. Replacement buses were only operated during peak hours, regular services having sufficient spare capacity at other times.

New Trams

During 2011 TfL made it known that it was seeking "up to ten" additional trams with a view to providing extra trams between Elmers End and Therapia Lane, said to be the "busiest line on the network." This would restore the link between these points lost when the routes were re-configured in 2006. However, the proposal seemed rather strange, as Elmers End is by far the least busy of the eastern branches, having only the one stop, and has only a single platform and so is not well placed to accommodate extra services. However, frequencies on the Wimbledon and Beckenham routes are constrained by the single line sections.

In the event, 6 additional trams in the form of Stadler Variobahn were delivered by diverting part of an order for Bergen. A passing loop was installed just outside Elmers End station to allow trams to pass and hence enable 8 trams per hour during the "peak" period, although these are not evenly spaced. Alternate trams from Elmers End continue to Therapia Lane as Line 4, although this is identical to the existing depot journeys on Line 1. Line 2 gained a standard 6tph during the peak period, and operates self contained at these times. It will be noted that the combination of two 4tph and one 6tph routes gives an extremely irregular timetable between Arena and Croydon, with the maximum headway worsened substantially from 6 minutes to 8.

Line 3 also gained a new timetable with an extra tram to improve reliability; further infrastructure works comprise doubling between Mitcham and Mitcham Junction, though the new timetable does not take much advantage of this. As noted earlier on this page, the timetable has been tight right from conception, and Line 3 was particularly problematic with reliability deteriorating to the point where it attracted the attention of London Travelwatch.

There was no change to the "off-peak" (i.e. evening and Sunday) service, so the disparity between Mon-Sat and Sun daytime services has been further widened.

Further works

Various other track works have taken place, usually for a few days at a time and often coinciding with school holidays, involving suspensions over parts of the network. Unfortunately, full details are not available. However, a particularly major one occurred on 24 May to 1 June 2014 inclusive, when the old road bridge at Woodside, which had been subject to a weight limit for some years, was replaced. Trams were curtailed to Addiscombe, with line 1 withdrawn completely; buses ran from Beckenham Junction to East Croydon.

A reasonably routine closure affected Addiscombe Road (the only major genuine street-running section) on 9-17 August 2014 inclusive. As is usual when the town is blocked, trams are curtailed at Sandilands from the east, with trams being stabled in the Sandilands tunnel overnight, whilst those not in use during evenings and Sundays are stabled on the Elmers End branch, meaning no trams to or from Elmers End at those times. Trams from the west can terminate at either East Croydon or Reeves Corner, depending on whether the town loop is available.

Doubling of the track between Beddington Lane and Mitcham Junction caused suspension of service on Line 3 between Therapia Lane and Mitcham Junction from Sat 25 October - Sunday 2 November 2014 inclusive. Because Line 3 was terminating at Therapia Lane, Line 4 could not be accommodated, so the old service of the 1/2 running every 10 minutes as a joint allocation was re-introduced during 'peak' periods. This also featured a better early morning service than usual on the 1/2, to get sufficient trams out of the way before the first arrivals from New Addington on the 3.

Sunday improvements

From 14 December 2014, the Sunday shopping hours frequency on Line 3 was doubled to match the Monday to Saturday service level. This is the first time that a distinction has been made within the "off-peak" timetable between Sundays and evenings.

The original frequencies were devised before Sunday trading came into being, and still do not reflect the fact that Sundays are now just as busy as weekdays during shopping periods. As noted above, the off-peak service from Beddington Lane to Wimbledon was increased from 2tph to 4tph early on, whilst the Line 1/2 service was doubled from 2 to 4tph more recently. The section between New Addington and Beddington Lane was thus the only part of the network still running at the original off-peak service level, at 4 trams per hour.

Following the introduction of Line 4 there has been an extraordinary differential in service between central Croydon and Therapia Lane, served by 12tph Mon-Sat but only 4tph on Sundays. Yet this section serves the Purley Way retail area, which can be expected to draw above average levels of Sunday patronage! The new 8tph service is much more acceptable. It is surprising that, with all the other improvements, this issue, which was simple to fix, had not been addressed before.

Future

The above mentioned doubling is part of a project to enable Line 4 to be extended to Wimbledon, providing extra capacity on what is doubtless the most overcrowded part of the network, connecting as it does with the Underground. However, the doubtful wisdom of superimposing Line 4 at 4tph into alternate gaps on Line 3 (at 8tph) seems thankfully to have been recognised (see below), and the plan is now to revert to something like the original service structure, with both lines 1 and 2 serving Wimbledon at 6tph and Line 3 reverting to its original route albeit at a reduced 8tph. Whether or not the resultant reduction from 14tph back to 12tph between Arena and Croydon is a problem seems not to have been fully decided. The major item of work in this project is due in the first part of 2015, which will involve withdrawal of services from Wimbledon station for a few months whilst the existing platform is moved to make room for an extra one.

A possible extra eastern branch to Crystal Palace has been on the cards for many years, but this would likely be served by diverting some trams from Elmers End. The primary objective of such a line would be to permit closure of the Network Rail line between Crystal Palace and Beckenham Junction, which is a single track running next to Tramlink's own single track, giving Tramlink a simple double track formation which would permit better and more reliable services to operate, including a Crystal Palace Beckenham Junction shuttle to replace the heavy rail service.

Beyond that, there is a limit to how much more can be done, as the town centre loop is nearing saturation. During 2014 however a proposal emerged for an additional section of town centre track in the form of a loop via Dingwall Road, which is designed to allow trams from the east to reverse without serving the main town loop, yet still passing acceptably near to the shopping centre. Exactly how this would be used was initially unclear.

However, in November 2014 TfL released an ambitious expansion plan called Trams 2030 which foresees additional trackwork at both ends of the town centre and more frequent and longer trams to cater for an expected doubling of demand by 2030. Overall, the objective is to increase frequencies and capacity on the branches, whilst actually reducing the number of tram movements in the town centre, partly because of a short-sighted decision by town planners to remove the pedestrian subways in Wellesley Road and replace them with surface crossings, which will impinge on the tram line. However, the plan has many downsides for tram users; there could end up being very few direct trams, or none at all, from George Street and Church Street to Centrale and West Croydon, whilst New Addington could see its entire service diverted onto the new Dingwall Road loop, which is less convenient for most of the shops.

All this is predicated on the assumption that the growth rate seen to date since the system opened will continue, and that demand at the busiest times (Mon-Fri AM peak) will rise as fast as overall demand. Both these assumptions appear to be highly questionable, however; the first few years after system opening were inevitably atypical as the system bedded down and people got used to it, and it is also clear that most of the increase so far has been during quieter times of day when there is plenty of spare capacity. It seems to the author that providing longer tram units (which is part of the plan) would be an adequate, and better way, to provide any additional peak capacity required.

Separately, Merton and Sutton councils are promoting a new Sutton - Wimbledon tram line which would join the Tramlink route at Morden Road. However, even with 2 platforms at Wimbledon it is unlikely that the full planned service on this line could be accommodated there as well as current Tramlink services, so various options are being considered.


Timetable index | Line 1/4 | Line 2 | Line 3 | Loop summary | Working info