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S.J. Parascandolo


First Test Runs on the Wimbledon Line


The first section of Tramlink to see trams, was the Wimbledon line. Trams were delivered to the Depot at Therapia Lane and tested on sections of the Wimbledon line which opened in stages to permit tram testing and driver training. Many of these tests took place before this website was established and developed sufficiently to record the events. This page has been based on the extensive personal notes of Geoff Smith. If you can add to this information or have any photos of any of these test runs, please get in touch.


Thursday 8th October 1998
HMRI Inspection run with 2530 (at that time unnumbered) of the Test Track from west of Purley Way bridge to East of Beddington Lane LC. Regular tram testing began the following day.
Saturday 14th or Sun 15th November 1998

The Saturday is more likely. Extension of the Test Track from Purley Way Bridge to Wandle Park.

Regular tram testing began from Monday 16th November 1998.

Mid February 1999

East of Beddington Lane LC to west of Beddington Lane tram stop (up to the Reversing point on the Single Line to Mitcham Junction). The date has not been recorded. Although a very short section (less than half a kilometre) there must have been an HMRI inspection. Mid February 1999 is suspected.

What is known is that 2541 was derailed on the points at Beddington Lane on 16th March 1999. It is thought that testing had probably been going on for at least two weeks when this occurred.

Wednesday 31st March 1999

HMRI Inspection run Beddington Lane to Phipps Bridge. On reaching Phipps Bridge in the late morning one, or both, of the check- rails of the points was/were found to be missing, so the tram returned wrong road to Mitcham, thence to the Depot. The check-rail(s) having been replaced, the Eastbound line from Phipps Bridge to Mitcham was inspected mid- afternoon using 2531. There was later a "fast" run from Beddington Lane to Phipps Bridge and back.

Regular testing seems to have started about 21st April 1999.

Thursday 8th April 1999

HMRI Inspection from Phipps Bridge to Wimbledon using tram 2530. Having crossed the Wandle Bridges at midday all went well until the tram became gapped at the crossfeed west of Kingston Road LC at Merton Park. It is thought that the wires were too high or the pantograph of a slightly different configuration to later trams. The tram stood there for nearly 3 hours. Eventually, after the limiter on the Pantograph had been removed, the tram ran into Wimbledon just before 1600. Railtrack had threatened to bar admission due to lack of buffer stops. Departing about 1615, 2530 crossed the Wandle Bridges about 1700. There does not seem to have been a second run on this occasion.

Regular testing probably started on, or about 21st April 1999- definitely by 28th April 1999.

Tuesday 1st June 1999 / Wednesday 2nd June 1999

2535 was hauled by Unimog over the Wandle Flyover to under Jubilee Bridge in the late afternoon of Tuesday 1st June 1999. That night, the 2530 was towed to the George Street crossover via West Croydon, returning via Church Street for gauging purposes. The first powered run over the Wandle Flyover is thought to have been 2530 on 16th June 1999 as part of the first powered run in the Town Centre. See this page.

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