Croydon Tramlink, London's only tramway in 2006, carried its first passengers on 10 May 2000. It runs east and west from central Croydon, connecting New Addington, Beckenham Junction and Wimbledon. It is a vital link across south London that joins London Underground, overland train services and bus routes. Transport for London managed the service in 2006 and had plans to extend the network.
Trams have a long history in Croydon. They first appeared in 1879, drawn by horses. Electric trams were introduced in 1901. The last of this generation of trams left the Purley depot at 11.24pm on Saturday 7 April 1951, crowds lining the route of its final journey.
By the 1980s, trams were making a comeback in many cities. At the same time, traffic levels in central Croydon were high and New Addington was poorly served by existing public transport. In 1990, Croydon Council and London Transport began to promote the Tramlink project as a solution.
It was a radical move that provoked heated debate in Croydon. A 1991 public consultation showed that over 80% of respondents felt that a tram system was a good idea, but there was also vehement local opposition from pressure groups such as Tramstop.
The Croydon Tramlink Bill had to be passed through parliament to allow the new tram system to be built in Croydon. The Act was passed on 21 July 1994 and, in 1997, work began on the biggest civil engineering project in the Croydon area since the railways first appeared 150 years earlier.
The speedy, clean and quiet trams have attracted people away from their cars and back onto public transport. By 2006, Tramlink had taken passengers on more than 90 million journeys.
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