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S.J. Parascandolo


Electrification System

Essential to the operation of an electric tramway is obviously the Overhead Line Electrification (OHLE) which powers the vehicles. Tramlink in line with most tramways is powered at a nominal 750 vdc. Peak Power Consumption is 1MW in any section.


Power is provided by 13 Substations, fed by either 6.6 kV or 11 kV AC supplies from local electricity companies with transformer rectifiers of either 600kW or 1000kW to provide the output.


Tramlink Substation
Harrington Road (referred to as Love Lane)
© S.J.Parascandolo


Inside Belgrave Walk Sub Station (while the doors were open for painting!)
© S.J.Parascandolo

The 13 substations are located at: -

  • Dundonald Road
  • Belgrave Walk
  • Mitcham Junction
  • Therapia Lane (divided into Main Line and Depot)
  • Jubilee Bridge (under the flyover near Reeve's Corner Stop)
  • East Croydon (located in College Road by the Railtrack Substation)
  • Sandilands
  • Oaks Road (near Level Crossing between Lloyd Park and Coombe Lane)
  • Addington Village
  • New Addington (Called Parkway)
  • Woodside
  • Harrington Road (Called Love Lane)
  • Blakeney Road (between Beckenham Road and Beckenham Junction)

Each Substation has a High Voltage (Regional Electricity Board) side and a traction power (Tramlink) side with access to each others equipment forbidden.

Power Supply Control

Intruder and Fire Alarm status as well as the status of equipment is monitored by the Tramlink Control Room using a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition system. See the Control Room Page for information on the Tramlink Control Room.

SCADA Overview of the West Side of the System taken during an arranged visit
© S.J.Parascandolo

Red means live with Green earthed. In the photo above, you can see the Wimbledon Cripple Siding is earthed. A few mouse clicks is all that is needed to isolate the power to a section. You can see several available circuit breakers that can be operated to switch out sections or Substations in case of failure or isolate trams with electrical problems. Controllers can select sections to give more detail and control over switching out substations. The system should be able to operate with a substation switched out.

The detailed view screen of the Mitcham Junction to Belgrave Walk section
© S.J.Parascandolo

Support Masts

Wires are controversially supported by standard H-section masts in most places. These are painted Dark Grey in the Town Centre and on the New Addington line but unpainted elsewhere. 6 circular masts have been used in the Conservation area by the Almshouses at Crown Hill in central Croydon and in George Street West and Church Street, part or all of the support is via wires connected to buildings. This was not possible throughout the area as the newer buildings were not strong enough to support them.

I am reliably informed that there are approximately 1060 masts on the system!

Each has a reference plate on and this refers to the Sub Stations each side and the Distance from the Tramlink zero Point which is 25 m West of the Centre of East Croydon Stop.

This is at Beckenham Junction and shows the mast is part of the Love Lane and Blakeney Road Substations sections - although not actually between them. The mast is located 7 km, 764m from the Zero Point.

See the Glossary Page for more information on these codes.

Overhead Equipment

A selection of equipment associated with the Electrification System that is visible around the system.

End of the Wires at Wimbledon with offset mast, weights and pulleys
© S.J.Parascandolo

Section Isolators, Circuit Breaker Case and Tram - Sandilands
© S.J.Parascandolo

Support arms and a feed between wires - Addiscombe Road.
Note the Streetlight mounted on the mast to reduce posts in the street.
© S.J.Parascandolo

Wire Changeover with Copper link between the two wires: Reeves Corner
© S.J.Parascandolo

The contact wire consists of two 11.7mm diameter grooved section copper wires on the mainline with a single wire in the depot and sidings where current draw is less. The tensioning is maintained by weights on or inside the masts. Normal height is 5.8m above the ground and is designed to remain above a height of 5.2m in street sections even if a mast is removed for road users safety.

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