It might be the biggest diversion ever... Edinburgh’s first set of trams is due to arrive in Croydon.
The Scottish city’s £545m project to build a new tram line is facing long delays and there is nowhere to keep the vehicles.
The trams were due to be housed in the newly constructed Gogar depot, but work has fallen behind and it is unlikely to be finished by the end of the year – its original timeframe.
Edinburgh Trams has entered into discussions with Transport for London (TfL) about housing the first four trams – which are being built in Spain – in Croydon.
The additional trams would make a welcome addition as the Tramlink network continues to struggle to accommodate growing demand.
Earlier in the year TfL explored the possibility of borrowing trams from the Continent to increase capacity. It has also looked at building new tracks to alleviate the problem.
But this situation could be the answer, with the Edinburgh system unlikely to be able to accommodate the trams for months.
Tie, the tram firm behind the Edinburgh system, admitted earlier in the year the project was nine months behind schedule.
A TfL spokesman said: “We have offered Edinburgh our assistance but we are yet to hear from Edinburgh what form it might take.
“It is not a done deal but a definite possibility. We have offered to help out where we can.”
The final business case for the Edinburgh tram project, published in December 2007, scheduled the Gogar depot completion for the end of this year. But tram bosses have now said that timeline is out of date.
Alastair Richards, managing director of Edinburgh Trams, said: “We are currently exploring the possibility of testing a number of Edinburgh’s trams on Croydon’s network. It provides us with an excellent opportunity to get some miles under the belt and test the trams in a real environment.”
The first set of trams is expected to arrive in the UK in spring 2010, and discussions with TfL are understood to have started.
Do you think Croydon needs more trams? Have your say below