Saturday 13 April 2024

Croyfun in Croydon The Reality

 From East Croydon Station

So it was that No 3 son arrived at East Croydon station for a tram replacement bus to Beckenham Junction. Opposite the station and its conveniently located tram stop is a small bus station. So, naturally, you would expect xpect that the tram-bus would pick up there. Access was difficult ...
... due to barriers for the track replacement work which provoked the trams closure. There were signs ...
... to the buses. It was not clear to our intrepid on-the-spot correspondent whether the signs led to any buses or to the special one he wanted.

In fact the TR2 route started from a side street near the station at stop E8.
Or, on-line, you could have it isometrically!
For the record (dismal record) the National Rail station on-line guide knew nothing of trams even when they were running!
Somebody should tell National Rail that you can catch trams from East Croydon station!

The only map No 3 sin could find there was this.
It was too small to read but that didn't matter at all as it didn't tell you anything.

It's all going jolly well.

One way of finding the replacement bus stops was to crawl on hands and knees along the pavement.
Again they were so very easy to read!
Notice how clearly it tells you which service stops there and where it is going! And you would look in vain for a timetable and even in more vain for something as unhelpful (?) as a departure list.
Steve, Andy and Tracy would now be fully informed - NOT!

To Beckenham Junction

But, using his telepathic abilities No 3 son found his bus and set off from the stop E8 outside Croydon's Boxpark. (Don't ask!).
A left hander ...
... took the bus past the station's entrance and to a possible stop at East Croydon bus station (see above at the head of this blog). fbb is still not sure whether it had an official stop there.

After the bus station, the vehicle turned away from the tram tracks and did not meet them again until Sandilands (tram above right in the picture below).
Perhaps we need to avail ourselves of the useful map provided by TfL to help its potentially confused passengers?

Oh. right! There isn't one. 

But fbb has penned one; part of which is below.
Bus stops are RED blobs; trams stops are YELLOW if they are sort-of served by bus whilst tram stops nowhere near a replacement bus are BLUE.

So passengers at Lebanon Road, Addiscombe and Blackhotse Lane have no bus service, they are expected to walk to a nearby (?) bus stop with "nearby" being a very rough approximations. Indeed TfL's list of stops fails to acknowledge Blackhorse Road at all!

There is a stop jist past Sandilands called Ashburton Road which is dubbed "for Addicombe".
After quite a long stopless section  we call at Asburton Park for a short stroll to Woodside ...
... followed by a stop which calls itself  Arena tram stop bus stop.
But there are no trams here! There is a footpath which takes you some distance and not obviously to the tram stop (top left in the aerial view below).
The bus stop is bottom centre!

Next call is at Elmers End where, oddly, there are two replacement tram stops. One is at the Tesco store ...
... maybe near, not at!
The TR2 (bus route not Triumph car) turns left and Elmers End station comes into view. 
The Station stop itself is well past the station's access road, tastefully hidden in trees.
Maybe now is time for the rest of the map ...
... as we approach Birkbeck.
The station is on the overbridge but the stop is a good way past.
As you can see from fbb's diagram, there is no bus service at Harrington Road and Avenue Road. 

The bus now runs via Anerley and Penge, the latter once the butt of many a Music Hall joke because of its supposedly risible name. Well, folk were easily amused back then!

The stop required by No 3 Son Beckenham Road, is next ...
... already featured in yesterday's blog. The boy sent a nice picture of a replacement bus thereat.
Notice the helpful (NOT) destination blind ...
... yet another example of the superb customer service from London Transport, a service much admired by our three Metro Mega Mayors "oop noorth".

Beckenham town centre is avoided by trains and trams, but is straight on where out TR2 turns left to get to its terminus.
And there we are at Beckenham Junction 
... right next to the tram platforms.
Journey's end!

Clearly it is not physically possible to serve every tram stop by a practicable bus service. But surely there is another way? Would it not be possible to park a few trams at Beckenham Junction and Elmers End, turn them at, say, Addoiscombe tram stop and thus tun a shuttle tram service between the two/three? A bus link from the Croydon loop to Addiscombe (or somewhere nearby) ought to be possible. Surely there are crossovers on the system to cover such eventualities. At least that way most of the tram stops could still be served.

The same could be arranged from New Addington to a suitable stop nearer to Croydon. The "works" were east of East Corydon and at the Sandilands junctions.

The last words come from No 3 son's email accompanying his photos.

Basically a total shambles at East Croydon as you can see that was all the signage I could see. No real mention of a tram replacement bus anywhere or how to catch it, total dice roll at the"bus station", probably more obvious the further you got away from Croydon.

A lady on the bus was total bamboozled by it all, quite rightly.

Passengers were vainly ringing the bell to alight at bus stops which were not replacement tram stops and being well miffed when the bus whizzed past where they really wanted to be!
So, a timely warning to Steve, Andy and Tracy, be careful what you wish for!

 Next Variety blog : Sunday 14th April 


  1. Those who say Andy Burnhan and the rest are naive for wanting a “London-style system” should ask themselves what public transport would be like in London if deregulation had extended to the capital in 1986.
    By now the big bus groups would have dispensed with their competitors and carved the area up into a series of overlapping but not directly competitive networks. Each of these would be planned without any reference to the others and needless to say each would have its own publicity and its own fares, again planned without reference to neighbouring operators or to the rail and tube networks.
    The end result would be a bit like, dare I say it, Sheffield, which as FBB regularly reminds us is somewhat less than optimal.
    Given a choice between the comprehensive and stable network in London and the chaos and constant change in the northern cities it’s not surprising that many northerners, not just the mayors, yearn for a “London style system”.

    1. Indeed. Only a lunatic would think that deregulation in London would have been a good idea. Even the most vociferous anti-franchising voices in the industry acknowledge that it would have been crazy.

      I can't however defend TfL for its currently embarrassingly poor publicity standards. Back around 15-20 years ago it used to be the standard to looked up to.

    2. Sheffield is a somewhat unusual case so its use as a general example needs to be deployed carefully. The presence of Meadowhall has badly undermined the viability of Sheffield City Centre and the local authorities have been lacklustre (the mayor has used the fact that Sth Yorkshire has much less public spending on transport than neighbouring equivalent areas as one of the justifications for franchising but it would seem within the purview of politicians not bus operators). These two issues have then brought out the worst aspects of First, investment only following success and interest depending on LA co-operation leading to a vicious cycle of decline with failure building on failure.

      London would likely have been more like Manchester, patchy delivery varying between operator between very good and terrible with areas of excellence alongside areas of poorer delivery and areas of dominance and areas of intense on the road competition. Whether that would have been sufficient to cope with the demands of London & not end up causing wider issues due to the reliance on public transport and the higher difficulty of car usage is a seperate matter.

      It needs to be remembered that London's bus network was in decline when it was trying to operate on a lowest cost model (as the provinces have to) and it was only when it switched to heavy investment, and so high subsidy, that the success was properly achieved. Franchising may be best when there is a lot of government money to spend but it is sub-optimal when money is tight as LAs aren't commercially focused, so focussed on the wrong levers, and slow to react to stem decline.

  2. A visit to East Croydon this morning found both routes TR2 and TR3 picking up in the Bus Station, Platform E1. This has direction arrows from the Railway Station where there are at least four poster size maps of the local area indicating where the stops are, and details of where the bus replacements run to. Still no timetables but at least during the daytime buses are frequent with route numbers and destinationsinside the windscreen.