London Tramlink


Greater London’s Modern Streetcar.

Croydon Tramlink
Croydon Tramlink features street running in the classic tradition. Canon EOS 7D photo.

In my last post I covered the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Today, I’m focused on the London Tramlink (an network centered on Croydon and previously known as the Croydon Tramlink). Here the terminology can get a bit confusing because while ‘Light Rail’ and ‘Trams’ are sometimes used to describe the same type of service, in London these services are distinctly different.

The DLR is an automated grade-separated rapid-transit type of service, but features stations that very close together while taking advantage of very tight curvature. By contrast, London Tramlink features street running and is largely a ground-level operation, with drivers on each car.

Where the DLR uses trains consisting of ‘light rail vehicles’ adapted on modern streetcar design, Tramlink uses trams or ‘streetcars’ and generally runs these singly, with a driver (or operator, if you prefer) on each car.

However, while the styles of operation vary, both systems provide intensive localized rapid transit that is fully integrated with the London transport network. Both systems also have lines on former ‘heavy rail’ rights of way.

I first experienced the Tramlink in January 2006. On a particularly bleak winter day, I rode most of the existing network and made a few color slides. The lighting was flat and very dull, so my photos from that effort have remained in the processing boxes.

Croydon Tramlink
A tram passes Lloyd Park. Lumix LX3 photo.

Last week, I had few hours to spare between appointments, and since it was sunny and bright, I opted to revisited the Croydon tram lines with the specific goal of making photos.

I was surprised to learn that the paint livery had changed. In my 2006 visit the trams were red and white, last week they were largely green and white, although there were a few running around in advertising colors. Also, there were some newer trams augmenting the older cars, which added to the variety.

I made photos with both my Lumix LX3 and Canon EOS 7D. All of these images were exposed in just a couple of hours. Thankfully, the trams operate on a close headway allowing for plenty of photo opportunities.

Croydon Tramlink
A tram approaches Lloyd Park on the line to New Addington. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.
Croydon Tramlink
A tram at Lloyd Park on the line to New Addington. Exposed with a Canon EOS 7D and 28-135mm lens.


East Croydon
Contrasts in modern design; a tram at East Croydon. Lumix LX3 photo
One of Tramlink’s new Stadler Rail Variobahn Trams glides along near East Croydon. Canon EOS 7D photo.
Croydon Tram
This tram was difficult to miss in its iridescent special livery.
London Tramlink
Another unusually painted tram was this car which wore a scheme similar to the red and white that I remember from my earlier trip. Lumix LX3 photo.
Older trams such as this one were built by Bombardier. The Tramlink was well patronized. Canon EOS 7D Photo.




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