The latest version of the Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy has recently been released into the public domain and despite a hefty document there isn’t a huge amount new to report for trams and light rail. Of course currently London has just the one tram network (London Tramlink) and one light rail systems (Docklands Light Railway) and although there are plans to extend both this is nothing which hasn’t been reported before, and just because its in the strategy doesn’t mean it will happen as it all comes down to the f word as usual – funding.
On London Tramlink two extensions are mentioned – the line to Sutton and the Dingwall Road loop in Croydon Town Centre. The Sutton line has been a long held ambition for local councils in the area but despite being in previous TfL Business Plans it was removed from the last version announced in December 2016. The draft strategy just says that the extension would “support the provision of new homes and jobs in the area” – but no mention is made of how it would be funded and when the Mayor would like it to be progress. Other extensions are apparently “envisaged should funding sources or mechanisms become available through local development” – not exactly a ringing endorsement for a major expansion of the network.
One of the proposals in the strategy does state that Tramlink will be upgraded to improve its reliability and to increase capacity by 85% to and from Croydon in 2030. This would partly be achieved by the construction of the Dingwall Road loop in Croydon Town Centre alongside a new and expanded tram fleet. Frequencies during peak periods would be increased with 22.5 trams per hour running west of Croydon towards Wimbledon and 30 trams an hour towards Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington. It is hoped that passengers would not have to wait more than 4 minutes for a tram at peak times.
Meanwhile on the Docklands Light Railway a 120% capacity increase is envisaged on the network by 2040. This would be due to a higher capacity fleet – for which TfL have already started the ball rolling for a new larger capacity fleet. There would also be greater station capacity at major development sites and transport interchanges.
It is also proposed that the DLR is extended to Thamesmead from Gallions Reach. This is said to support the development of thousands of new homes in Newham, Greenwich and Bexley and could apparently be delivered within ten years. Further in advance there are plans afoot to introduce a night service on the DLR.
* The full draft Transport Strategy is viewable on the Mayor of London’s website.