The tramendous story behind London Trams

Photo of London Tramlink roundel

The London Trams network, as you know it today, opened in May 2000. But did you know trams have a long history in London, longer actually, than the Tube network? 🚊

To celebrate 20 years of London Trams, here are our top 20 must know facts and figures. πŸ’š

  1. The first tram tracks were established in London in 1861
  2. In 1952, the last original passenger service tram journey in London ran on route 40 from Woolwich (Perrott Street) to New Cross Depot. The current London tram network was opened in 2000 ending a 48-year long hiatus of tram activity in London
  3. The earlier trams were horse drawn
  4. Electric trams were first introduced in 1901, the current tram network is fully electric
  5. Part of the Kingsway Tram Tunnel, which was once used by trams in London to serve two underground stops Holborn and Aldwych, is now used for the Strand Underpass
  6. The numbering of the tram fleet starts at 2530 – the last original London tram was numbered 2529
  7. In the 1870s the ramps at Woodside tram stop were originally used to load and unload horses competing at the nearby former Woodside racecourse, which closed in 1890
  8. Nearly 30 million passengers travel via the London Tram network each year
  9. The tram carriages can carry up to 208 passengers at one time
  10. The tram network is 100% step free
  11. The network has 39 stops, covering a large portion of South London
  12. The length of the network is 28km, with the line running through four boroughs, from Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Bromley
  13. The last station to open on the network was Croydon’s Centrale in 2005
  14. The tram travels roughly 141.3 million kilometres each year
  15. The highest station above mean sea level is Coombe Lane at 148 metres
  16. The furthest station on the tram line from central London is New Addington, 19.5km from Aldgate
  17. The longest direct journey spans 19.1km from Wimbledon to Beckenham Junction and it takes 52 minutes to travel from one end to the other
  18. East Croydon is both the busiest tram stop and the tram stop with the most platforms – there are 3 in total!
  19. South Norwood Country Park, accessed from Arena and Harrington Road tram stops, with its wildflowers, wetlands and fishing lake is actually a redeveloped sewage plant
  20. Moquette, the company that designed the iconic seat patterns on the Jubilee and Central lines, also designed the seats on the London Tram network

Rolling Stock

Just like the Tube, we use rolling stock trains on the tram network. πŸš‹

Most units of rolling stock last up to 25 years and major refurbishment can prolong life by another 10-15 years, which is much cheaper than buying a new train. πŸ‘

The tram network currently uses: CR 4000 trams which is the majority of the fleet and Stadler Variobahn trams.

Do you know more interesting trivia? Share in the comments below! πŸ‘‡

1 Comment

  1. Parts of the Trams use former railway lines for example, the Wimbledon to Croydon section uses the former single British railway line between West Croydon and Wimbledon, the section between Birkbeck and Beckenham Junction was 2 National Rail lines but one was taken out and trams use that half of the line.

Share your thoughts