Croydon’s tram service has established itself as a modern commuter success story.
Despite trams mostly going out of fashion back in the mid 20th century, some cities and towns have managed to re-establish them effectively.
Plying between Wimbledon, central Croydon, New Addington, Elmers End and Beckenham Junction, London Tramlink is now a quick efficient service linking up otherwise inaccessible parts of south London.
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Yet everything new is built on something old.
There were railways here before, and many existing transport networks had to close, or were radically changed, to make room for this fourth-busiest light rail network in the UK.
Addiscombe was one of these lost historic Croydon stations closed to make room for the trams.
The station had opened way back in May 1864 as Croydon (Addiscombe Road).
It was an essential stop on the South Eastern Railway – later the Southern Railway – and was at the end of a line, which stretched all the way to London Bridge, and had connections with lines to Brighton, Dover and London Victoria.
Unfortunately, after its heyday in the early 1900s, the station gradually became rundown.
It became part of the Southern region of British Railways and platform 3 was closed in 1956.
Through trains to London were withdrawn and reduced to a shuttle service to Elmers End.
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In its later years it was run by Connex South Eastern, and was in Zone 5 on the London network.
Tramlink finally opened in 2000 and the station was closed.
The new link would run along the old rail route from Elmers End to Woodside, and then to Sanderstead.
The station was finally demolished in 2001 and the East India Way housing development was built on the site.
Nowadays, part of the old line nearby can be walked along through Addiscombe Railway Park.
You’ll be familiar with this name of course from the Beddington Lane tram stop, which now stands on the site of this long disused station.
Originally The Surrey Iron Railway (SIR) – a line where trucks were pulled by horses to transport goods between Wandsworth and Croydon via Mitcham – operated in this part of London.
It opened way back in 1803 and transported goods such as coal, building materials, lime, manure and corn.
Unfortunately this unique railroad went out of business in 1846, and a new line called the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway opened.
Part of this was the single-platform station at Beddington which opened in 1855.
The quaint little station consisted of wooden buildings at a level crossing.
But as plans for the new tram line came into force the station closed in 1997 and the new tram stop was built at the site.
The old line itself from Wimbledon to West Croydon was refurbished to become part of the tram network we know today.
This little station was once situation on the Woodside and South Croydon Joint Railway which later morphed into much of the line used by Tramlink.
The line ran from Sanderstead to Elmers End via Selsdon, Coombe Road, Bingham Road and Woodside and operated into the early 1980s.
The station had a very short life and was closed in March 1915 to help save money for the war effort.
Bingham Road station was opened on this line on September 1, 1906 on the north side of Bingham Road. It had two wooden platforms without buildings.
Today it is the site of the Addiscombe tram stop.
Again this station will be familiar to tram users. It’s now the Merton Park tram stop and the tram lines occupy the site of the trackbed and platform of the old railway line.
But the original station and line are far older.
They opened as part of the Tooting, Merton and Wimbledon Railway as far back as 1868. The line ran from Wimbledon to Streatham with both the Wimbledon and Merton branches meeting at Tooting.
The station was originally named Lower Merton.
It had three platforms but the Tooting platforms closed to passengers as early as 1929. Freight services continued up to 1979.
The station did continue to serve passengers on the West Croydon to Wimbledon Line until 1997 when it was closed in preparation for Tramlink.
The original station building has been converted into a private house, forming part of a small housing development covering some of the original station site.
Mitcham tram stop again replaced a much earlier station here on the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway.
The station had originally opened in 1855.
It closed in 1997 in preparation for Tramlink.
This station was originally opened on the Southern Railway in 1930 to serve new housing in the area, Croydon’s gas works and power stations. It served the much older line between Wimbledon and West Croydon.
Use of the station dropped dramatically when Croydon B power station shut in 1976.
One of the platforms was removed as well as the footbridge.
The station and the rest of the line were closed in 1997 to make way for Tramlink. Waddon Marsh tram stop was built about 100 yards south of the site of the station.
This station was opened way back in the 1870s to serve – would you believe it – a nearby Croydon racecourse.
There was even a special ramp to get horses on and off the trains.
But things didn’t go well. In 1890 the racecourse closed and soon after the line to Selsdon was shut. The station was already falling into disuse.
Things improved in 1935 when the lines were electrified with direct services to London.
The line never really recovered from the disruption of World War Two though, and after the war, was replaced by a shuttle service to Elmers End and a few London bound services.
The station gradually declined and was boarded up in the early 1990s.
In 1997 it was replaced in preparation for the new tram link.
The station is now of course the site of the Woodside tram stop.
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