Total Length: 17 miles (28km) Number of Stops: 39 Operator: FirstGroup Commenced Operation: May 2000
- New Addington to West Croydon (loop service) – Every 6/7 Minutes
- Wimbledon to Beckenham Junction – Every 10 Minutes
- Wimbledon to Elmers End – Every 10 Minutes
The current rolling stock roster totals 149 units (mixed 2 & 3 car) and is made up as follows:
- Bombardier Flexity Swift | 24 in service | Introduced in 2000 | Numbered 2530 to 2553
- Stadler Rail Variobahn | 12 in service | Introduced in 2012 | Numbered 2554 to 2565
In 1990 Croydon Council in partnership with London Regional Transport approached Parliament with the intention of constructing and operating a network of tram routes centred around Croydon, with the main catalyst for the proposal being the lack of London Underground services in Croydon. Parliament agreed and approved the proposal, passing the Croydon Tramlink Act 1994 into law.
1996 saw the award of a 99-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract for the design, construction and maintenance of the system to Tramtrack Croydon Limited (TCL). TCL comprised Firstgroup, Bombardier Transportation, Sir Robert McAlpine & Amey, working in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland & 3i. Under the contract, TCL kept would keep the revenue generated by Tramlink with London Regional Transport paying compensation for any fare and ticketing policy changes introduced in later years.
Construction of the network commenced in 1997 with TCL taking over a mixture of existing railway lines and former railway alignments as well as constructing new street level links along existing roads. The parts of the new network that utilised former British Rail lines meant that existing station sites could be used, but the platforms had to be demolished and rebuilt to a lower height to suit the trams. The only exceptions to this practice are at Elmers End and Wimbledon where the track level was raised to allow cross-platform interchange.
In May 2000 the system and it’s operation was introduced in phases up to 38 stops, subcontracted by TCL to Centrewest Buses. The number of stops was increased to 39 with the opening of the Centrale stop on 10 December 2005 and, although this slightly increased journey times, the proposal to add an extra tram never materialised.
Following a review of the way it had to pay compensation to TCL for any fare or ticketing policy changes made, Transport for London (who replaced London Regional Transport), reached an agreement to buy TCL for £98million in March 2008. In October 2008 TfL reliveried the existing tram fleet and rebranded all of the tram stops as well as changing the name of the system from Croydon Tramlink to Tramlink.
With rising passenger numbers, and the realisation that the tram fleet needed to be increased to handle demand, TfL issued a tender to supply ten new or second hand trams from the end of summer 2011. Stadler Rail won the tender and initially supplied six new trams which entered service in 2012, followed by the outstanding four being delivered in 2015. A further two trams were ordered as an add-on and these were delivered in 2016, bringing the new fleet up to 12 examples.