It has been a start to the new year to forget for London Tramlink with a large fire in a storage warehouse adjacent to the tram tracks causing major disruption to the service. The proximity of the building to the tracks has meant that the Tramlink service has been severely disrupted since it started at approximately 1945 on New Year’s Eve with disruption now confirmed to be continuing throughout the weekend whilst the remains of the building are made safe.
The blaze was first reported at around 1945 on New Year’s Eve and at the height of the fire there were 20 fire engines with 120 firefighters on scene. The storage warehouse along with the items contained within it were destroyed with the fire service on scene for several days damping down the last of the blaze. For anyone who has visited Croydon this building would have been familiar as it is located immediately alongside the Tramlink tracks between the Ampere Way and Waddon Marsh tramstops on the Wimbledon line. The scale of the fire and the fact that the structure is now in an unsafe condition means that it was necessary to immediately suspend the tram service as well as close the nearby Purley Way. Although it was then possible to reopen the road it still isn’t safe enough for the tram to run alongside the remains of the building with it needing to be made completely safe.
Since the incident happened there has been no service between Church Street and Mitcham Junction with a replacement bus service put in place. The remainder of the network has also only seen a limited service with trams running every 12-15 minutes as follows:
Elmers End to West Croydon (every 15 minutes)
Beckenham Junction to West Croydon (every 15 minutes)
New Addington to West Croydon (every 15 minutes)
Wimbledon to Mitcham Junction (every 12 minutes)
Interestingly Transport for London have described these as lines 1, 2, 3 and 4 – line numbers were removed from the trams during 2018!
The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed with two men arrested on suspicion of arson released; one without charge, the other under investigation.