78 on the traverser in CN Trams in Carshalton


Croydon had horse tramways, running north-south, in the 19th century.  In 1904, Croydon Corporation appointed the British Electric Tramways Group to electrify and operate the lines in the borough. This they did under a subsidiary with the name of South Met, who went on to build the lines to Sutton and Mitcham in the west and the extensions to Crystal Palace and Penge in the east.


The trams arrived in Sutton in 1906, when the South Met opened its route from Croydon.  Later known as route 7, the trams ran from Tamworth Road, West Croydon (initially not joining with the north-south lines), via Waddon, along newly laid roads across open country (now Stanley Park Road) to Boundary Corner.  From here they turned north to Park Lane, then ran via Ruskin Road in Carshalton, also new as the High Street was too narrow for trams.  From the 'Windsor Castle', the trams turned down Ringstead Road and along past the depot in Westmead Road to Sutton Green.  This exact route was followed by the 654 trolleybus and its successor bus route the 154.


OK, not a tram (although this picture of B1 78 emphasises the short length of the class compared with

other trolleybuses), but this is a nice picture of the traverser that was installed in Sutton Tram Shed

in 1935 to enable trolleybus operation.

Photo © Terry Russell


Also in 1906, Croydon Corporation took over the operation of their lines in the borough, leaving the lines to Sutton and Mitcham and the sections beyond the boundary to the east which belonged to SouthMet.  In 1907 an agreement for the east was reached whereby Croydon worked the route to Penge and SouthMet worked the line to the Palace via Anerley Hill, both running through to West Croydon.  The east and west halves of SouthMet were worked separately (although there was by then a track connection). Those on the route from Crystal Palace terminated at West Croydon Station.


The trams operated on the route were open-top, lasting until 1936, when they were the last open-toppers in regular service with London Transport - all of the tram routes having been brought under the LPTB umbrella in 1933.  With such ancient vehicles, it was inevitable that these routes.formed part of the first phase of the new LPTB's scheme to replace trams with trolleybuses.  The 654 replaced trams between Sutton and Croydon on the 9th December 1935 and through to Crystal Palace from 8 February 1936.


For more, see the London Tramways site.