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Camberwell - London Bridge tram

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Friday 20 September 2019 11.25am
This proposal seems to make perfect sense and I like see that happen. Whats the general mood around this?
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Friday 20 September 2019 9.37pm
Even in the heyday of trams before 1952 they never tried to extend the tracks north of Borough Station. Can you imagine trams up narrow, congested Borough High Street today? - complete, according to the 'Supertram' plans, with an island platform at the junction with Southwark Street and a terminus in the middle of the road on the southern approach to London Bridge? See http://www.southwark-supertram.co.uk/what/ for a set of small and not very clear plans. They're just going to get stuck in the same traffic jams as the rest of the traffic.

OK, it would duplicate the central section of the 35 bus route, so presumably LT could take an equivalent number of diesel buses off the road. Each tram could carry 200 passengers (but only 80 of them will have seats!) and two wheelchairs. But would it really attract car-drivers to leave their cars at home?

As in Croydon, trams are at their best when they can get off the roads that they have to share with other traffic and on to their own reserved trackway. Tram promoters should be looking at roads that are wide enough to allow this - and there aren't all that many in central London. (Blackfriars Road might have been suitable once - but it's now got a cycleway instead.)

If it's fast, quiet, smooth-riding and non-polluting they want, there are the new battery-powered electric buses - there are some on the no 43 route from London Bridge, and worth travelling on just for the experience. (Pity about the noisy air-conditioning.)
Wednesday 2 October 2019 11.41am
I don't feel strongly about it but can't see that trams offer any real inherent advantage over buses, in fact buses are more flexible and require less infrastructure. But trams might be more appealing to people who turn their noses up at catching the bus, for whatever reason.

As John C says the main issue for this route, and any other in central London, is the available road space and traffic. If the trams are much longer than the average bus, which I expect they will be, there a few pinch points along Walworth Road, E&C and Borough High Street which will become interesting.

Then you've got the track and electrical infrastructure to accommodate. Overhead cables are the visible bit, but you also need substations every 2 miles along the route. Laying tracks in the road is not a cheap and easy business. Once you've paid for these elements you could have bought a nice fleet of buses instead, and they have the benefit that they can drive around roadworks if needs be.
Wednesday 2 October 2019 8.43pm
All this sounds very plausible, but isn't the case for trams made in terms of speed?
A bus from the Camberwell Green to the E & C can take forever.
Wednesday 2 October 2019 9.54pm
maurits wrote:
All this sounds very plausible, but isn't the case for trams made in terms of speed?
A bus from the Camberwell Green to the E & C can take forever.

It can be a frustratingly slow mile-and-a-half. I don't know what the tram will do to make it faster than a bus though. If it get's a special tram lane with special tram traffic light sequencing it might be faster but they could just do that for the buses!

Maybe I'm being too negative. I quite like trams - there's a neat one in Bordeaux that doesn't have overhead power lines. I'm just sceptical about the benefits of them running through central London with modern traffic.
Thursday 3 October 2019 2.18pm
John C wrote:
Even in the heyday of trams before 1952 they never tried to extend the tracks north of Borough Station

They terminated a bit further north - at The Hop Exchange, Southwark Street.
Thursday 3 October 2019 4.45pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
John C wrote:
Even in the heyday of trams before 1952 they never tried to extend the tracks north of Borough Station

They terminated a bit further north - at The Hop Exchange, Southwark Street.

Not via Borough High Street (north) they didn't, Gavin - that's what I meant. At the junction with Great Dover Street trams could turn west along Marshalsea Road and on to Southwark Bridge Road (as I'm sure you know - I'm looking at maps dated 1916 and 1951, and I don't know which tram routes used which tracks, though). From Southwark Bridge Road trams could turn right on Southwark Street as far as a terminus near the Hop Exchange, as you say. By 1951 trams DID also go across Southwark Bridge, but only as far as a terminal track (in the middle of the road as usual) on the north end of the bridge. There seems to have been no attempt to run trams up Borough High Street (north) or (as in the current proposers' wildest dreams) across London Bridge.
Friday 4 October 2019 10.38am
I follow what you mean, and, yes, it was via SBR rather than BHS.

BTW - there are some great Middleton Press books on trams in the local area and SE London more generally , with lots of great pictures.

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