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Of the various routes designed or altered to feed the Croydon Tramlink, by far the most successful has been the T31. One of the main objectives of the old 130 route was the Fieldway Estate at the north end of New Addington, and the T31 is the only route to serve it, apart from the lingering remains of the 130, and this results in very heavy loadings at times. It follows quite a convoluted route though, connecting with trams both at the tram terminus at New Addington, near where the shops are, and at the purpose built interchange at the north end of the estate near the old part of Addington.
Meanwhile, at the other end, an unexpected extension was provided. Forestdale had been linked directly to Croydon by Metrobus’s commercial route 354, but London Transport Buses decided that it was close enough to the tram line to be viewed as part of the catchment area. Thus the 354 was to be withdrawn and replaced by part of the network of feeder buses. In the event, the Selsdon Vale area has retained its direct link, albeit renumbered T33, but Courtwood Lane nevertheless lost its through service to Croydon.
The original plan had been to divert route 353 to Forestdale. The 353 previously ran into Croydon, but again was to be altered to connect with the trams instead, and at the same time improved from 2 to 4 buses an hour. But 4 buses an hour would still represent a reduction at peak times from the 5-6 provided by the 354. Thus one of the few changes London Transport Buses made to its proposals after the statutory consultation period was to give Courtwood Lane a “proper” feeder service, and this was achieved by extending the T31 from Addington Village, thus providing 9 buses an hour. It seems strange that the T31 was extended, rather than the T32, as the routeing in New Addington was already much longer for the T31 than the T32. As a result the T31 was run with 10 buses and a tight timetable, while the T32 had 7 and nevertheless a slack timetable.
The route, along with the T32, was initially operated by First London from Orpington depot using Marhall bodied Darts painted in the same colours as the trams – First also operate Tramlink. Both routes were reduced from 9 to 8 buses per hour during the day on Mondays to Saturdays when the Tramlink timetable was re-cast in 2006. The original routeing at the south end was via Homestead Way and Kings Henrys Drive to terminate at Vulcan Way, but in a rationalisation of services it has now been altered to follow the traditional 130 route via Arnhem Drive to Homestead Way. This change coincided with the first re-tendering of the service, and the new contract was awarded to Arriva London South who run the route from South Croydon garage using new Alexander Dennis Enviro200s.
|Photo © James Fullick.|
Two views are offered here, both taken on the first day of the new contract, 12 May 2007. ENL 2 (LJ07 ECX) crosses the tram lines in Kent Gate way bound for Forestdale, while ENL pulls into a bus stop at the Addington Interchange on an eastbound journey. Westbound buses have to turn 810° anticlockwise in order to serve the bus station, as they can only get in at the west end and out at the east, while the westbound stop on the central island also faces west! So you can see why some drivers call it Addington roundabusstation!
|Photo © James Fullick.|
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