Two new routes on the Croydon tram network are proposed; Sutton to Tooting via Mitcham and Sutton to Wimbledon via the current rail route.
TfL has commissioned a report from the consultancy group FaberMaunsell into the feasibility of the following tram routes:
Wimbledon to Sutton via Morden
Two options were considered - one on-street route and one using the existing Thameslink heavy rail route. The on-street route had a negative cost-benefit ratio and the route using the existing alignment had a positive cost-benefit ratio.
It is likely (although not certain) that this section would be converted completely to tram operation, with Thameslink trains therefore operating between London and either Wimbledon or Sutton, but not both. Passengers from the intermediate stations would have to change at Wimbledon or Sutton for connections into London.
Extra stops would also probably be introduced, as happened with the Croydon to Wimbledon route which used to be a heavy-rail service (where 5 extra stops were introduced, in addition to the existing 8 from Wimbledon to West Croydon inclusive).
Prospective new stops might be at Merton Hall Road, Love Lane, Collingwood Road and Cheam Road, although this is just conjecture.
Tooting to Sutton via Mitcham
The Tooting - Sutton route has a positive cost-benefit ratio.
Ideally, the route would reach Tooting Broadway station in the north in order to link into the Northern Line, but street-running along Mitcham Road between Tooting Broadway and Tooting station is difficult.
This route is likely to be mainly street-running, using the A217 (London Road / Bishopsford Road) between Tooting and Mitcham, then travelling down to Mitcham Junction, where a short chord would connect the new route to the existing Tramlink network.
After Mitcham Junction, the line might take in the Willow Lane business park, then travelling through green spaces to reach St Helier Hospital.
From there, the line would follow the same alignment as the on-street option for the Wimbledon to Sutton route.
The Sutton Guardian and Croydon Guardian presented Mayor Ken Livingstone with the data from a survey of readers' support for extension of Croydon Tramlink to Sutton, Tooting, Streatham and Purley - the result of which was overwhelming in favour of the trams. The Mayor was pleased with the level of support in principle but sounded a note of caution that some people turn against the plans when they become more detailed.
A survey carried out by the Sutton Guardian shows that 87% of its readers are in favour of the extension of Tramlink to Sutton. TfL does not currently have the funds to build an extension, but strong local support for the Croydon Tramlink system is creating a precedent.
Proposals for a tram extension to Sutton were supported by Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who said the money the Lib Dems aim to save by scrapping schemes like ID cards would be available for projects like the Sutton branch of Croydon Tramlink, which has been proposed by TfL but for which funds are unavailable.
Local MPs are giving their backing to a mooted Tramlink extension to Sutton, after a local newspaper poll said 85% of those surveyed were in favour of such a project.
Sutton's GLA member Andrew Pelling said that tram lobbyists should not be discouraged after government ruled out a number of other schemes due to their cost. He said that using off-road routes and existing lines would make Sutton's proposals more cost-effective.
Wandsworth council has joined the South London Trams group which is lobbying for extensions to the successful Croydon Tramlink. Of particular interest to Wandsworth is the proposed extension to Tooting.
A lobby group called South London Trams has been set up by Lambeth Council and the South London Partnership to call for expansion of the Croydon Tramlink network, recently praised by the National Audit Office for attracting investment to Croydon.
A six-week public consultation on council plans to redevelop the area around Sutton station is about to commence. In the scheme, land has been earmarked to provide an integrated transport interchange for bus, rail and the possible extension of Croydon Tramlink.
Extensive redevelopment around Sutton station is proposed by Sutton Council - to ensure that appropriate land is available for a Tramlink terminus and transport interchange.
According to the Sutton Guardian, the Mayor has "shortlisted" Sutton as one of the forthcoming Croydon Tramlink extensions to be carried forward for a final decision on the route to be taken. A report is due out shortly from the consultants FaberMaunsell, who were commissioned to investigate possible Tramlink extensions. A council steering group will be set up by Sutton and Merton borough councils based on the report's findings.
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