It is a scheme which has been on the cards for a number of years but a new consultation has just been launched looking at the possibility of extending Tramlink through to Sutton. However, the consultation isn’t committed to the so-called Sutton Link being an extension of the current London Tramlink system with bus rapid transit also being considered. The consultation is a chance for the public to put their views across on three possible routes between Merton and Sutton.
The aim of the Sutton Link is create a new, direct and quick transport link between Sutton and Merton with a high capacity route provided for people to travel between the two boroughs. It would use zero emission vehicles and would connect with other major transport services into central London and across south London. It would also support new homes being built and improve access to jobs, services, major transport hubs and leisure opportunities.
Three potential options are being looked at:
Option 1 – South Wimbledon to Sutton Town Centre
This would be either a tram or bus rapid transit and would run from South Wimbledon to Sutton Town Centre. It would run on-street giving interchange to the current London Tramlink network at Morden Road (although the information released is suggesting an actual physical connection would be difficult). There would also be interchange available with London Underground services at South Wimbledon and Morden and national rail service at Sutton. It is expected that a total journey time from end to end would be 19 minutes.
Current estimates suggest if built as a tram this route would cost £425 million with a bus rapid transit option costing £275 million.
* A factsheet on this option is available here.
Option 2 – Colliers Wood to Sutton Town Centre
Again this could either by tram or bus rapid transit. This is again a street based route which would run from Colliers Wood to Sutton Town Centre with an interchange to the current London Tramlink network at Belgrave Walk and the Northern Line at Colliers Wood. This is considered an easier option to connect to the current Tramlink network and would also have the advantage of being the most effective option for improving public transport in less well connected areas. A total end to end journey time of 21 minutes would be provided.
Current estimates again suggest a cost of £425 million for trams and £275 for bus rapid transit.
* More details on Option 2 is available here.
Option 3 – Wimbledon to Sutton Town Centre
The only option guaranteed to be a tram this would mostly see the current Thameslink operated Sutton loop line converted to tram operation. As such the interchange with the current Tramlink network would be at Wimbledon (as well as National Rail and Underground services of course). This is not only the lowest cost option but would also cause the least amount of disruption to traffic in the area. However, on the minus side there would no journey time improvements, it wouldn’t improve public transport in less well served areas and may have to be delayed by several years to coincide with construction of Crossrail 2.
The overall cost of this option would be £300 million.
* The factsheet for Option 3 is available here.
If TfL decide to go-ahead with one of these options the earliest construction could begin would be in 2022 with services up and running no earlier than 2025. Once the consultation is closed analysis will be undertaken of the results and a full report released which will help TfL decide the best option. A further consultation would then follow in 2019 with more detailed information of the preferred option – whether that be tram or BRT. A planning application wouldn’t be submitted until 2020 on current timeframes.
The consultation is open from now until 6th January 2019 and can be accessed at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/trams/sutton-link/.