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Tram City Tram

The Corporation of London has proposed a tram scheme from the southwest via the City to Islington and Hackney.


This scheme is being proposed to complement the existing Cross River Transit which runs from the southeast and south through western central London.

The Corporation of London would like to see a similar tram scheme serving the City. They see trams as a low-cost but high-benefit scheme to provide enhanced transport for millions of pounds whilst uncertainties over projects costing billions of pounds, such as Crossrail, the East London Line extensions and Thameslink 2000 are sorted out.


The Corporation's tram route (see a map) would have two southern and two northern branches with a core central section.


The most southwesterly branch would run from Battersea (probably Battersea Park station) along Battersea Park Road and Nine Elms Lane to Vauxhall and then via Kennington Lane (crossing Cross River Transit (CRT) at Kennington Cross) to Elephant & Castle (where there would be interchange with CRT).


The other branch would run from Elephant & Castle via Kennington Park Road to the Oval, sharing infrastructure with CRT from there onwards via Stockwell to Brixton.

Core section

The core section is from Elephant & Castle, up Borough High Street and past London Bridge station, running across London Bridge itself and through the City via Monument station, Gracechurch St and Bishopsgate, to Liverpool Street station and then to Shoreditch (near the planned Shoreditch High St station) where it divide into two northern branches.

The core section would serve key new developments in the City such as the Swiss Re and the Heron Tower (as well as the proposed "shard of glass" London Bridge Tower in the borough of Southwark).

Northwest (Islington)

The Islington branch would follow the inner ring road by using Great Eastern Street to Old Street roundabout and then along City Road to the Angel, where it would swing north along Upper Street to Highbury & Islington.

Northeast (Hackney)

The Hackney branch would run from Shoreditch High St to Hackney Road, and then along that to Cambridge Heath station, where it would turn up Mare Street, running past London Fields to Hackney Central.

An extension to Stratford from there via Hackney Wick was considered but dropped because of the difficulty of engineering. An alternative route to Stratford from Bethnal Green is being considered (this is seen as important to serve the proposed Olympic site).


The Corporation of London propose building the 17km tram route by a new "trenchless" method which doesn't involve the cost of moving utilities. They predict a capital cost of 348.3m, followed by 14.8m annual running costs. The Treasury requires a 60% "optimism bias" to be added to cover unforeseen costs, which raises the cost to 490.9m.

As always with such projects, the location of a depot causes much concern. The Corporation believe that the redevelopment site at Battersea Power Station offers a good location for a depot without upsetting residents too much.

Service pattern & demand

24tph would run on the core section, with 12tph running on each branch.

Between 52000 & 64000 passengers would be expected to use the tram in the morning peak (0700-1000), with total annual patronage at between 51m and 64m. Revenues would be between 24m and 39m, although given decreases in bus ticket sales, net public transport revenue change could be anywhere between 47m and -2m. Total benefits would be between 76m and 96m.

It is predicted that demand would exceed capacity for the short section between London Bridge and Monument stations; however, the capacity would be appropriate for the rest of the line. Frequencies could be raised in the future to accommodate growth in demand.


No current news for this project.

Links & Sources

  1. Corporation of London: Press Release on the City Tram
  2. Light Rail Transit Association: brief assessment of City Tram
  3. Corporation of London report
  4. Map of the proposed City Tram

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