Work on doubling the track between Mitcham and Mitcham Junction on the Wimbledon branch of London Tramlink is approaching completion and indeed trams are now able to use the new track although at the present time it is still being used as a single track section operationally as some signals still need to be moved into the correct position.
As we have reported extensively on British Trams Online this section of track is being doubled to help improve reliability on the Wimbledon branch as it will eventually mean trams will not have to wait at either end of the single line for a tram to come the other direction. The new westbound track was bought into operation for the first time on Monday 25th June. Unfortunately it was not possible to connect the new signals up in time because of delays in connecting the new track to the existing one at the Mitcham end as the engineers found an old railway junction set of points that had to be removed when laying foundations and a quantity of concrete had to be laid to fill in the deep hole.
- This week we reported that the new Variotrams were not cleared to operate alongside the Network Rail tracks on the Beckenham Junction line as they had yet to be approved. We have now been informed that this is not the case. Clearance to run they alongside these tracks was obtained before they were even purchased and during training runs and clearance checks with the Rail Inspectorate they have visited Beckenham Junction. Currently the Variotrams are not visiting Beckenham Junction because their increased length means that the rear car is still at a slight angle leaving a large gap on the edge of the platform in front of the rear door. It is eventually planned that the buffers here will be moved further forward to alleviate this problem although this is unlikely to be seen as an urgent job. The reason that the Variotrams are currently concentrated on the Elmers End branch is because not all Tramlink drivers have yet been trained on them and it makes it easier to allocate drivers on just two lines rather than all four.