Unbuilt London: Croydon trams extension to Crystal Palace

The South London trams snake around the region offering a convenient east-west link, but once could have also been extended to just outside the former Crystal Palace.

The extension to Crystal Palace would have provided a service of six trams an hour to Croydon, bringing 11,000 more households within 800m of a tram stop.

Tramlink Route 5 would have run from where the Crystal Palace bus station is today down towards East Croydon, replacing a little used railway line with a far more frequent tram service.

Running along the existing railway was not difficult, the problem was what to do when the trams got to Crystal Palace. The existing railway station is in a deep cutting next to the park, and then runs through an even deeper tunnel under the bus station.

Anyone who has walked up the hill there knows how deep that tunnel is.

There were three options on how to get to the Parade: on-street, off-street and a mixture of the two. After a consultation in 2006 the off-street option was favoured,.

Under this scheme, the tram would have crossed Anerley Road bridge at street level and continued running alongside the railway lines to emerge beside Crystal Palace train station.

The route would run up Ledrington Road to cross the National Sports Centre access road. The tram would then enter Crystal Palace Park and run parallel to Anerley Hill. The tram would run in a cutting along the Park periphery in an area that is under-used and neglected. It would then climb onto a landscaped embankment near the Museum building before terminating next to Crystal Palace bus station.

An initial extension was cancelled due to a lack of funding, but revived in 2006 with strong local support, but cancelled again shortly afterwards. A second revival in 2012 was dropped in 2014. At the moment, the only Tram extension being considered is from Wimbledon to Sutton.

Sources:

TfL press release

TfL press release

London Development Agency (via Wayback Archive)

TfL consultation (via Wayback Archive)

The Proposed Croydon Tramlink Extension (via Wayback Archive)

Boris breaks promise over Crystal Palace tram extension

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9 comments on “Unbuilt London: Croydon trams extension to Crystal Palace
  1. Andrew Gwilt says:

    The Croydon Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace could happen. If TfL does allow the Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace to get the go ahead.

    Plus with a new Wimbledon-Crystal Palace service via West Croydon/East Croydon.

    Also why not allow the London Overground to extend to East Croydon.

  2. JC says:

    @Andrew Gwilt – sorry, your comment doesn’t make sense. The extension to Crystal Palace could happen if TfL lets it happen ?!? Well, duh, of course, but TfL have already cancelled it twice and have no money, so it is dead.

  3. James Thompson says:

    Wouldn’t it be simpler to just add a chord on the overground branch line, to take it to Penge East, and just add new interchange platforms at Penge West.

    That way the overground wouldn’t need to branch, and the fat U line taking the southern route could be abandoned entirely / turned over to “much needed” new housing / a new road, etc.

    • Sykobee says:

      What are you talking about? That ‘southern route’ (I presume you are talking about the SLL via West Norwood) is very busy and an essential train route.

  4. Jimmy says:

    Pleased this isn’t happening. Leave our park alone.

  5. David says:

    Tram to CP? Maybe well into the future, long after I’m gone!
    Imagine if you will a battery/catenary, hybrid tram-train providing this service, one that could run on existing NR track. Eventually, when the bugs have been ironed out of the much delayed and overspent Sheffield tram-train experiment, it could happen.
    Oh, and Crystal Palace Park is of a vast acreage. And set in a cutting in one uninteresting (station excluded), transport based corner, you’d hardly notice it.
    These tram-trains could then link the tram system with the DLR at Lewisham; for connectivity, anyone?
    As for the medium term future, too many projects chasing too little money. Dream on TfL.

  6. Sykobee says:

    I always wondered how the tram would cope with Anerley Hill in winter with a bit of ice on the rails. The section from the train station to the bus station is pretty steep. Some people suggested that the route should tunnel through to the location of the high level station, which would be a far shallower rise.

    Obviously the crayon-wielders then pointed out the route could go via the old high level line route to Nunhead, etc… Luckily that old tunnel is full of bats and needs a lot of work.

  7. Nicholas Bennett says:

    The High Level Line to Nunhead no longer exists. Much has been built over with flats and houses. Trams, of course, navigated Anerley Hill for 30 plus years until replaced by trolleybuses in 1936.

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