New trams on the cards for Tramlink?

Transport for London’s latest draft business plan – covering the period 2020/21 to 2024/25 – gives the details of all the proposed improvements on the various transport networks including the London Underground, London Overground, buses and as far as this website is concerned of most interest the Docklands Light Railway and London Tramlink. Whilst this five year period looks unlikely to see much on the horizon for either the DLR or Tramlink (besides those projects already announced) there is one item of interest in the lengthy report – the development of plans to introduce new trams on Tramlink.

The bulk of the London Tramlink fleet is made up of 23 CR4000 trams built by Bombardier in 1998-9 and within the timeframe of this business plan they are likely to start to come towards the end of their natural lives (already being 20 years old only the Stagecoach Supertram Siemens-Duewag vehicles are older in regular operation on a tram system in the UK). Granted there is no guarantee in this business plan that there will be funding for their replacement it is the aim that plans will be developed for their replacement with the aim of keeping “the network safe and reliable”.

Aside from the new tram plan other items linked to the DLR and Tramlink mentioned are:

* Introduction of 43 new walk-through trains on the DLR (with the contract already awarded to Stadler) from 2023. The total cost of the trains and associated infrastructure improvements is put at £548 million.

* Continuation of the introduction of the RAIB’s recommendations following the Sandilands derailment with the last in the final stages of implementation now

* Installation of solar power at three depots across the capital starting off at Tramlink’s Therapia Lane.

* The modernisation and expansion of depot facilities at Beckton on the DLR

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “’I am hugely proud of what we have achieved improving transport across London – this is despite the ongoing economic uncertainty and the average reduction of £700m per year in TfL’s funding from central Government. Alongside our continuing modernisation of the Tube, TfL fares will be frozen again this January, and we continue to take some of the boldest action of any city in the world greening up our transport network and improving air quality across the capital. But London also needs a Government that recognises the importance of continued investment in new infrastructure for the future of our economy, and it is essential the new Government commits to working with us to deliver vital projects such as Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extension.”

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