Hello! Yes, the day is finally here, we’re wearing bright green and we’re starting in Beckenham Junction to finally go and do Secrets of the Trams. So we’re out on the trams, but before we can start our journey I feel like I need to bring you up to speed with a bit of history. When the trams were launched back in 2000, there were three routes with three colours Even the trams themselves were red in colour. TfL took control of the trams, though, in 2008, and gave the network its now-distinctive green livery. By this time, a fourth route was also in operation, and so the map looked like this. And our first stop is… we’re at Beckenham Road, as the tram that we’ve just been on leaves there. Something to notice: there’s a single track over here. That line there is the National Rail system. Now, interestingly, the trams are actually timetabled to pass it at the same point, but, obviously, you can’t have two trams at the single platform at the same time. So, in practice that rarely works, but it is interesting to note that, in terms of scheduling, they should be here at the same time. There’s a junction just up there, where the trams wait for each other to pass. Now, Roding Valley is the least-used station on the Tube, and I very much suspect that our next station has got low passenger numbers, too. Welcome to Birkbeck, which features, always, in the top 10 list of least used National Rail stations –that’s right–because half of it is on the tram, and half of it is on the National Rail. And, therefore, it’s weird that once every half an hour a big, 8-car Southern train comes through to this somewhat dead station. It’s a weird, quiet, strange place, and I bet you’ve never been to Birkbeck. Now, when the tram network was built, a lot of it was made easier by the fact that it used the alignments of old, existing, and, in some cases, disused railways, and the first clue we see of this is at our next stop. We’re at Woodside, which might possibly be my most favourite stop on the whole tram network, because there’s a whole bunch of history here. Woodside railway station is just there; an old National Rail–British Rail, as it was– railway station, which they then converted into a tram stop. So, if you look behind me, you can see here there’s this building that spans the railway, and that is the old, original station building. But come down the side, and there’s even more history to see. And here, down by the side of the station, you can see is this ramp. That’s because when the station opened in 1871 there was a racecourse just down the road nearby, and this ramp was installed to allow them to load and unload horses to go to the racecourse! And, it’s still here today. The next place down the line is almost a tram stop that shares its name with a London Underground station. We’re at Blackhorse Lane tram stop. Don’t get that confused with Blackhorse Road on the Victoria and the Overground. And we are here to see Addiscombe railway park. You’ll see that the tram stop is over here, but down here… Ooo, look at that. Can you see? That is clearly the old alignment of an old railway with the road bridge going across. “What’s that? A lost railway, Geoff? Surely, you need a ‘Lost Railways in London’ video about that?” And we have, we’ve done one, so click in the corner right now to find out more about Addiscombe, and the line down to Selsdon. We took a pleasant ten minute walk along the old railway line, noting that there is nothing left at all to see of the old Addiscombe station, and then we got to Lebanon Road. So, we’ve now hit the part of the tram network where the tram tracks actually in the road. The cars, and buses, and trams all share it. It gets a little bit congested, and that’s why here, at Lebanon Road, they’ve staggered the stops so the eastbound one is over there, and we’re here on the westbound one. It’s the only place, as far as we know, on the tram network where it happens. It’s also just one of three stations where, bizarrely–how antiquated is this?– there’s still a payphone.
[phone rings] Oh. [phone rings] Hello? Oh, it’s me. Hi, Geoff. Where are you? Getting back on the tram, and look at the moquette seating pattern it’s made by Wallace-Sewell the same people that design the moquette for the We had a quick look at the history plaque at Sandilands and then went to find another old railway that the trams re-use at Croydon The line between West Croydon and Wimbledon used to be a single track british railline which also closed in 1997 to have a tram network to take his place. An oddity of that is that West Croydon’s three platforms on London 1 , 3 and 4 So where is Platform 2? Well, it used to be a bay platform, where the single line used to terminate and it’s mostly been filled in now, to be part of Platform 3 but if you look closely, there’s a still a short stub left of it here that you can see at the western end of the station The trams cut right through Croydon high street at this point the most obvious example of the trams being classified as what’s known as an ‘open’ system And round the corner, a place designed specifically for something that a lot of people We’ve got Centrale tram stop here which I really like Now, when the tram system opened in 2000 Why? because Croydon opened up a brand new shopping centre Leaving Croydon, and you get to Wandle Park And it’s at this point that the trams are also running in the same place as the old Surrey Iron Railway Which went between here and Wandsworth Now trams, are really just like buses on rails But out of the town, they can really move fast Up to 60 kilometres per hour And a bit like the DLR where you can pretend that you’re driving You can sort of see out of the front too and pretend that you’re in control And next up, yet another point where we encounter an old abandoned railway We’re at Merton Park station, the tram there of course heading back up to Croydon The Merton, Tooting and Wimbledon railway That closed in the 1920’s to passengers, but survived for freight until the 1970’s * THIS TRAM, IS FOR WIMBLEDON * And so onto our final stop … Wimbledon And platform 10 has been split into 10a, and 10b If you’ve never been on the trams before, I say “Why not? What’s wrong with you!” Me? I don’t even live near a tram stop, and yet I’m going back in for one last ride on a tram, and somehow .. get home, see ya!