Croydon tram depot
Croydon tram depot visit
In April Peckham Vision took Peckham residents for a ride on Croydon’s tram before visiting the tram depot.
The journey through Croydon by tram was as smooth and pleasant as I would have expected from such a modern form of transport. The service was prompt, quiet, clean and green. But as we arrived at the depot itself, I have to say my heart sank. This desolate place was a kind of ‘industrial suburbia’, clinging to the edge of the city and surrounded by large warehouses and car showrooms.
Security was tight, and a galvanised steel fence shut the site off to the passing public. As we entered through a small gate the vast maintenance shed loomed ahead. At 100 metres long, a street of two storey houses could fit under its huge roof.
Behind the shed were the ‘stabling yards’, a flat expanse containing eight parallel train tracks for storing the 24 Croydon trams when they weren’t in use. Hanging from pylons above the tracks were rows of electricity cables which connected to a small substation. The horizon beyond the tracks was just as industrial and barren. But in Peckham this empty space would be a strange contrast to the lively skyline of shops, flats and houses.
A site this size - roughly four football pitches - contains enough space for scores of homes, workshops and studios, and could provide hundreds of people a place to live and work in. Or perhaps just enough space for one empty and utterly soulless tram depot.