Southwark Tram

Doppelganger

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Southwark could get tram network before 2030 as London Underground Bakerloo line extension on hold News came in last week that Southwark Council may consider building a tram network due to the success of Croydon's Tramlink and because the current proposal for the Bakerloo line extension has been put on hold. The Southwark Liberal Democrats put forward the proposal at a council meeting last week (March 24) which called on the council to consider investigating transport option

Croydon's Tramlink cost £200 million and was built in six years, while the latest cost estimate for the Bakerloo line extension from Elephant and Castle is £3.1 billion

Originally it was estimated that the Bakerloo line extension would take around seven years to build but work to implement the extension is currently on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is thought the tram network would take between five and eight years to buil

While we neither know how much a Southwark tram network would cost nor exactly how much the Bakerloo Tube line extension would cost, the disparity in estimates suggests the latter would be much more expensiv

It also seems as if the Bakerloo line extension could take longer to make happen because of Covid delay

The Lib Dem proposal would hope to see the tram network operating fairly soon, possibly with a pilot before 2030.s.e.d.n.s.

So no more Bakerloo extension potentially?

The difference in costs, although not surprising, looks to be a deal breaker in the post COVID world when councils reign in spending even further
 
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Vespa

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Croydon and Southwark are about 9 miles apart, it is feasible to connect the two in which case it may be advisable to get the same type of tram or one that will be compatable with each other's system.
 

bluenoxid

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Comparing the costs of a project built in the early noughties with a project proposed three decades later
 

edwin_m

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On a quick look the only obvious route from Elephant to Lewisham is the A201/A20. This has between three and five traffic lanes, with bus lanes in places but nowhere near end to end. So creating roadspace for a tramway would involve taking it away from other traffic, which I think is unlikely to be acceptable in this case without a major change in attitudes to driving (remember Uxbridge Road?). The alternative of running the tram in shared lanes with other traffic would probably be worse than a bus in journey time and reliability.
 

Doppelganger

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On a quick look the only obvious route from Elephant to Lewisham is the A201/A20. This has between three and five traffic lanes, with bus lanes in places but nowhere near end to end. So creating roadspace for a tramway would involve taking it away from other traffic, which I think is unlikely to be acceptable in this case without a major change in attitudes to driving (remember Uxbridge Road?). The alternative of running the tram in shared lanes with other traffic would probably be worse than a bus in journey time and reliability.
Of course you could argue that the tram will reduce traffic and so the reduced roadway for cars won't have an impact.
 

edwin_m

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Of course you could argue that the tram will reduce traffic and so the reduced roadway for cars won't have an impact.
I suspect a lot of the traffic will be coming from beyond Lewisham, there's no scope for a park and ride without going much further out, so I doubt a local tram would reduce the traffic much. It presumably shares the objective of the Bakerloo extension, of providing transport links for new housing.

Also, as I mentioned, there are sections with only three lanes and no alternative route for through traffic, so there would have to be quite a bit of sharing of lanes.
 

telstarbox

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Also a lot of the traffic on the A20 /A2 Old Kent Road is vans rather than cars, likely heading for the industrial sites around the Old Kent Road. By the time you reach Bricklayers Arms (where the Congestion Charge starts) it gets a bit quieter. Anyone commuting from Lewisham, Eltham or Sidcup to Zone 1 will be on Southeastern already.

There is a 2016 plan for a Southwark tram here (London Bridge to Denmark Hill) but it looks a bit crayonish :)
 

Doppelganger

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Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, but that part of London was well served by trams. Imagine if they had left it all intact and just upgraded as and when required rather than just rip the whole lot up. Shame.
 

MP33

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The Radio 4 current affairs comedy show Weekending had a sketch when, although skint Southwark Council were proposing spending millions on a new town hall. There were Councillors and Council Officials discussing it and getting more over excited and over ambitious. At the end a Doctor came on to say it is time for them to put their straight jackets on and be locked up in their padded cells.
 

Busaholic

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Also a lot of the traffic on the A20 /A2 Old Kent Road is vans rather than cars, likely heading for the industrial sites around the Old Kent Road. By the time you reach Bricklayers Arms (where the Congestion Charge starts) it gets a bit quieter. Anyone commuting from Lewisham, Eltham or Sidcup to Zone 1 will be on Southeastern already.

There is a 2016 plan for a Southwark tram here (London Bridge to Denmark Hill) but it looks a bit crayonish :)
Although not described as a Southwark tram scheme, before the final cancellation of the Cross River Tram project in 2008 by Boris Johnson, as new Mayor of London, in 2007 then Mayor Ken Livingstone proposed that only the southern section be built, which in effect meant mostly in Southwark with eastern parts of Lambeth borough too.
 

Aictos

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Also a lot of the traffic on the A20 /A2 Old Kent Road is vans rather than cars, likely heading for the industrial sites around the Old Kent Road. By the time you reach Bricklayers Arms (where the Congestion Charge starts) it gets a bit quieter. Anyone commuting from Lewisham, Eltham or Sidcup to Zone 1 will be on Southeastern already.

There is a 2016 plan for a Southwark tram here (London Bridge to Denmark Hill) but it looks a bit crayonish :)
If it was funded, where would it have joined up with the Croydon tram network and what route/s would it have taken?
 

NotATrainspott

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The level of housing developments planned for Old Kent Road is only feasible with a heavy metro. Trams are really useful, but an inner city area of London needs the next level up for transport provision. The upfront capital cost of the extension isn't that relevant. It's the cost-benefit ratio that matters, and that includes development uplift taxes. A cheaper tram route won't result in the same increase in housing, so it won't pay its way to the same extent. When OKR is ripe for enough development to fill up a Bakerloo extension, it's somewhat unlikely that the benefit-cost ratio for a tram will be better overall.

It's understandable that TfL's plans have to be reconsidered in a post-Covid world. However, I think it's fairly unlikely that central London is going to empty out. People will continue to want to live in a city because a city provides you with more options for everything than living in some idyllic countryside where you're a half hour walk from the nearest post office.
 

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The level of housing developments planned for Old Kent Road is only feasible with a heavy metro. Trams are really useful, but an inner city area of London needs the next level up for transport provision. The upfront capital cost of the extension isn't that relevant. It's the cost-benefit ratio that matters, and that includes development uplift taxes. A cheaper tram route won't result in the same increase in housing, so it won't pay its way to the same extent. When OKR is ripe for enough development to fill up a Bakerloo extension, it's somewhat unlikely that the benefit-cost ratio for a tram will be better overall.

It's understandable that TfL's plans have to be reconsidered in a post-Covid world. However, I think it's fairly unlikely that central London is going to empty out. People will continue to want to live in a city because a city provides you with more options for everything than living in some idyllic countryside where you're a half hour walk from the nearest post office.
Is there any corridor in London that would suit trams?
 

Doppelganger

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Is there any corridor in London that would suit trams?
The West London Tram was a thing once. Shepherd's Bush to Uxbridge.

Nice and straight road, to replace the 207 bus, but of course a very busy road.

The argument was that the tram would cause traffic congestion, however the counter-argument was that it would reduce it as people moved to use the tram and away from cars.
 

Sad Sprinter

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The West London Tram was a thing once. Shepherd's Bush to Uxbridge.

Nice and straight road, to replace the 207 bus, but of course a very busy road.

The argument was that the tram would cause traffic congestion, however the counter-argument was that it would reduce it as people moved to use the tram and away from cars.
Perhaps a route mirroring the number 25 bus, which after all is the busiest. Although it does duplicate Crossrail.
 

NotATrainspott

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Trams are the right option for orbital routes. The Croydon network is pretty much exactly what you'd want. It connects up a reasonable chunk of south London suburbs into the rail hub that is Croydon. There were existing rail lines which could be cheaply taken over to provide a core for the network. This meant some upfront capital cost of the network could be justified by cutting operational costs on these lines (as trams are cheaper to run than trains). Relatively little expensive on-street infrastructure was required, and whatever was built had strong network effect benefits from day one.

There's not really anywhere else in the city which is as ready for trams. In the north west, a sort of orbital link is possible because different tube lines come together at their outer ends. Most of the remaining orbital links are required for freight and so can't be converted to tram. The Overground is the best they'll get, and they've done extremely well from it.

Any new tram networks will have to be heavily weighted towards street running. That means it's hard to get the network effect rolling with cheap off-street sections to pull in passengers. The Uxbridge Road proposal doesn't really seem too bad, all things considered. However, the only way I can see the costs making sense is if a tram were combined with a programme of housing densification along the road. It might not be as much of a problem to rebuild the road for trams if at the same time you're widening it to handle taller 4-8 storey buildings to replace the Metroland originals along its length.
 

Busaholic

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If it was funded, where would it have joined up with the Croydon tram network and what route/s would it have taken?
I don't remember any plans to join Croydon Tramlink with any other proposed tram routes other than in enthusiast circles or more fevered local borough politicians, usually around election time.
 

Vespa

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I don't remember any plans to join Croydon Tramlink with any other proposed tram routes other than in enthusiast circles or more fevered local borough politicians, usually around election time.
I would future proof that option by getting the same type of tramcar as Croydon for that eventuality, several advantages a proven design and no compatibility issues if through running from one network to the other or indeed several other potential tram networks yet to be built, the only difference would be livery.
 

zwk500

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Trams aren't the right option for Central London - the volume and frequency demanded is just too high. Croydon works well as it's an economic hub in it's own right, fills in a notable gap in other public transport provision and connects into 2 major interchanges for onwards rail connectivity. The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham and then Hayes will give far more benefit. Trams might work in Stratford or Wembley/Watford areas (if a gap in the tube coverage can be found), but Central London needs the heavy metro levels of capacity and frequency.
 

edwin_m

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Trams aren't the right option for Central London - the volume and frequency demanded is just too high. Croydon works well as it's an economic hub in it's own right, fills in a notable gap in other public transport provision and connects into 2 major interchanges for onwards rail connectivity. The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham and then Hayes will give far more benefit. Trams might work in Stratford or Wembley/Watford areas (if a gap in the tube coverage can be found), but Central London needs the heavy metro levels of capacity and frequency.
In central London the Tube takes the majority of passengers so there might be opportunities for a tram to fill the gaps in the network which don't have the passenger numbers to warrant at Tube line (and would be very much cheaper and quicker to build). Trams are also fully accessible, more so than a bus and certainly more than the Tube where only a handful of inner London stations are step-free.

There are at least two big problems however. The first is that most roads are too narrow for segregated tram or tram+bus lanes, and many are infested with buses that stop frequently and taxis that can stop anywhere, which a bus can go round but a tram can't. The second is finding space for a depot without building a lot of extra track to access it. It would be challenging to assemble and clear a large enough parcel in inner London where land is scarce and expensive, and although the air rights could be sold the economics are still much poorer than developing the same site without a depot underneath it.
 

klambert

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Arent most modern trams built on routes that are mostly disused rail lines? The Croydon tram has very minimal street running whereas this seems it'll have all the downsides of the bus IE subject to road congestion but without the upsides of a bus IE fixed not rooted to a fixed guideway. Knowing London traffic, all the congestion won't come from cars but from buses, taxis and vans, so I doubt the tram would reduce the congestion that much, unless the tram is created as part of mass pedestrianisations. This just seems like a lib dem puffery piece around near the time of a local election, I'm sure this will disappear again after May.
 
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Busaholic

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Trams aren't the right option for Central London - the volume and frequency demanded is just too high. Croydon works well as it's an economic hub in it's own right, fills in a notable gap in other public transport provision and connects into 2 major interchanges for onwards rail connectivity. The Bakerloo extension to Lewisham and then Hayes will give far more benefit. Trams might work in Stratford or Wembley/Watford areas (if a gap in the tube coverage can be found), but Central London needs the heavy metro levels of capacity and frequency.
Croydon Tramlink could very easily be extended to Hayes from New Addington if the Bakerloo ever served the former.
 

telstarbox

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In central London the Tube takes the majority of passengers so there might be opportunities for a tram to fill the gaps in the network which don't have the passenger numbers to warrant at Tube line (and would be very much cheaper and quicker to build). Trams are also fully accessible, more so than a bus and certainly more than the Tube where only a handful of inner London stations are step-free.

There are at least two big problems however. The first is that most roads are too narrow for segregated tram or tram+bus lanes, and many are infested with buses that stop frequently and taxis that can stop anywhere, which a bus can go round but a tram can't. The second is finding space for a depot without building a lot of extra track to access it. It would be challenging to assemble and clear a large enough parcel in inner London where land is scarce and expensive, and although the air rights could be sold the economics are still much poorer than developing the same site without a depot underneath it.
Although if you did build a tram on an underserved corridor, most of those buses and taxis would disappear overnight?
 

NotATrainspott

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An advantage of a tram is that you can have many more doors, which all have step-free access. This cuts down waiting times at stops and reduces bunching. Part of this change is that trams expect to carry a higher proportion of standing passengers.

The unpopularity of bendy buses might be a good data point in discussions about new street trams in London. A bendy bus gets you many of the same benefits as a tram, like the extra doors and shift to standing space. In theory, you could essentially duplicate the passenger behaviour of a tram by using a sufficiently long guided bendy bus and dedicated stop infrastructure. We have trams and not just bendy buses because eventually the extra cost of installing rails in the street is justified by the benefits: a bendy bus system like this will have many of the complications of a tramway, like dedicated routes, but without the efficiency benefit.
 

edwin_m

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Although if you did build a tram on an underserved corridor, most of those buses and taxis would disappear overnight?
Most main roads where trams might be considered have numerous bus routes. The tramway might directly eliminate a few but others serve other places. These would have to remain unless TfL could find some way of diverting them (which the Oxford Street proposals demonstrated to be difficult and unpopular) or terminating them where they interchange with the tram (which would be slightly easier but just as unpopular).

Many taxi users wouldn't change to any form of public transport, either because of difficult of using it (luggage, infirmity, journey not possible by PT) or because certain user groups will never consider any alternative. And any move to restrict the right of taxis to go and stop anywhere incurs the wrath of a formidable political lobby.
 

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