Friday 12 April 2024

Croyfun in Croydon (3)

We Will Have A London-Style System

The noise emanating from the Mega Metro Mayoral Minstrels is almost deafening. What the public needs is a transport system just like London's; under Local Control with the Authority setting timetables and fares and the nasty commercial operators, in it for the profit, just turning up and running the buses. (P.S. and the trams and the trains!)

Actually, the operators will still be making a profit, possibly a bigger profit than they did under the "commercial" regime.

Leaving aside the fact that Steve (left) and Tracy (right) haven't  started yet and the embarrassing fact that Andy (centre) has had some pretty disappointing experiences with his hugely successful (Ha Ha) take-over, fbb does wonder whether they know what London is like.

So fbb would really aim to take all three to Haywards Heath to share No 3 son's recent experience of the astoundingly wonderful Transport for London. Regular readers of this blog might note just a smidgen of cynicism lying in the background here.

Surely not?

Just over a week ago, the lad was invited to a wedding. The register office happening was on Wednesday morning followed by a celebratory lunch.

No 3 son would travel from Haywards Heath to Beckenham ...
... after work on Tuesday. 

Initial cartographic investigation suggested an option would be to go by train to Croydon and thence onwards by tram with a path every 10 minutes, no less.
Even northerners like Steve, Andy and Tracy ought to be able to manage that.

Hmmm?

But No 3 son is make of wiser stuff. His papa has trained him to treat any on-line public transport information with polite suspicion - nay, even with impolite suspicion.

So, wisely, off he went to the TfL website ...
... where he was advised of a part closure of the tram.
And he obediently clicked on the bright green bit which told him that there was ...
... a part closure of the tram. Presumably the average user of TfL's web site is so thick they have to be told everything twice.
There then followed this paragraph ...
A second paragraph gave details of the alternatives of which fbb has selected the bits that apply to Beckenham.
There was a map which told you that ...
the part closure of the tram was in fact a 75% closure, and thus a very big part.
Counter-intuitively the attached map showed visually the closed part as open and the open part as closed.
Good, innit?

How would Steve, Andy and Tracy be coping at this stage?

Don't forget that TfL does not provide timetables for any of its "owned" services and that includes the Croydon trams. 

The Elizabeth Line line and the Overground are national rail lines operated on their behalf by TfL so timetables are available oin-line.

For the record, the New Addington tram runs evey 7/8 minutes ...
... the Elmers End route runs every 10 minutes ...
and the Beckenham Junction service.  every 10 minutes.
This gives a tram every 5 minutes from Arena to Wimbledon. Times, as usual, courtesy of the wonderful Robert Munster.

At this point, having grasped the thrice given warning, No 3 son telephoned his dear papa. After some discission about alternative routes by rail via London ...
... and some debate about the multiplicity of stations in the Beckenham area, the lad decided to risk the replacement bus.

Neither TfL nor Robert Muster has the  replacement bus timetables, but there is always the TfL journey planner ...
... which, unlike Traveline, did know about replacement buses; but failed offer any timetables. 

fbb was really impressed with one TfL option, namely all the way by bus
Needless to say, No 3 son spent a few happy micro seconds considering this latter option of a ride of over three hours!

Good, innit!

As previously revealed, No 3 was aiming for Beckenham Road tram stop ...
... but which he now knew would have to be Beckenham Road tram stop bus stop.
Fortunately this really is the same place!
But neither he, nor we, knew that at this stage.

So tomorrow we will see how the trip panned out and (spoiler alert) Steve, Andy and Tracy would not stand a chance.

Weekend Variety will follow on Sunday and, possibly. Monday.

 Next Croyfun blog : Saturday 13th April

Thursday 11 April 2024

Croyfun in Croydon (2)

 A Tram Ride To Beckenham Jct

The pattern of service on the Croydon Tram system has changed over the years. Currently trams from Wimbledon are shown as LIGHT GREEN on the above diagram. The "one way" loop also carries the DARK GREEN route which is for trams to New Addington.

Today our interest is with the onward "light green" route to Elmers End and, even more specifically, to Beckenham Junction, a route chosen by No 3 Son for his expedition (of which more tomorrow).
There are several videos of this route on YouTube but they are a bit long at over 25 minutes. So fbb has taken some slightly fuzzy screen shots showing each station in turn. So we start with ...
East Croydon
,,, where the stop is plumb outside the station entrance.
Next stop is 
Lebanon Road
There is street running along Addiscombe Road where Lebanon Road is a side turning. Through road traffic is discouraged but not forbidden. 

But soon a bit of reserved track appears ...
... leading to 
Sandilands
This would be where you would change if, for example, you were travelling from Elmers End to New Addington. The tracks dips down through the greenery ahead to the junction.
It was at the foot of this slope that a tram, travelling far too fast, tipped iver with tragic and fatal consequences. 

The route to Beckenham Junction takes the left turn.

We are now on the former train track from Elmers End to Selsdon; and next is a newly located station named 
Addiscombe

Not far from the new Addiscombe was Bingham Road.
There is nothing left of this station and he track has been lowered significantly for the tram so no overbridge or steps up to identify the location.
Lost without trace!

Next north is
Blackhorse Lane
This is where the original Addiscombe branch diverged. The branch is now  a "Railway Park" accessed from this stop.
It is possible to walk or cycle ...
... almost all the way to where the station building once stood.
There is now no sign of the station, only a rather out-of-place frontage and a walkway to yet more flats.
But walking towards the arch from the park you see a bulky retaining wall.
This wall stood as part of the station as shown below.
Back to our tram ride.
Woodside
The old Woodside station building still stands.
Next we come to
ARENA
Immediately after this stop the line to Elmers End runs straight on but our virtual tram veers left...
... on to a line built along open public land where no trains ever ran.
There is one stop on this very "countrified" bit of tram route.
Harrington Road
After this stop, the tram becomes single track ...
... and then runs alongside a bit of a proper train set!
Both modes have a stop at
BIRKBECK
This station is on the National Rail line from London Victoria to Beckenham Junction via Crystal Palace. 

Once the station had two platforms ...
... but the line was singled in 1983 ...
... which provided a nice easy route for the trams. The train service is only every 30 minutes Monday to Saturday with no trains on Sunday. 

There are steps to the national rail platform ...
... and on the other track ...
... Steps "recycled" to give access to the tram.

But trams run every 10 minutes so passing places are required; such as this at ...
AVENUE ROAD
There is a second passing loop just after
BECKENHAM ROAD
We are nearly at our terminus, No 3 Son having (in theory) alighted at Beckenham Road) and more busy National Rail routes come to join us.
In the distance you can see the platforms for the proper trains at ...
BECKENHAM JUNCTION
... where two diddy platforms are available for the trams.
Journey's End!
Incidentally, c/o the above Carto map, note how many stations there are for "Greater" Beckenham.

But No 3 son did not have the opportunity to enjoy such a ride ...
... as we shall see tomorrow.

 Next Croyfun blog : Friday 12th April