Croydon tram services are facing more than a week of potential disruption after tram infrastructure sustained fire damage in last night’s riots.
Overhead line cables were damaged by the large blaze at House of Reeves furniture store in Croydon, and it is thought that the accompanying tracks could also have sustained damage.
“The big fire at Reeves was right next to the tram lines. The overhead lines are definitely disrupted,” said a Croydon Council spokesman. “We believe the tracks themselves may need to be replaced because of the heat damage.”
The spokesman said overhead cable repairs are expected to take “several days”, and if it is deemed necessary to replace the tracks that could take “a week or upwards”.
Transport for London (TfL) said it had so far been unable to make a full inspection of the damage because much of the area is “still a crime scene”.
A spokesman said: “We have undertaken an initial inspection of the London Tramlink network in Central Croydon and can confirm that there has been damage to the overhead wiring.
“However, until we can gain access to all of the area … we will be unable to confirm the extent of the damage to the track and cabling.”
Thames Water reported that it was experiencing low pressure in the Croydon area due to “large amounts of water being used by the fire brigade” in the incidents last night. Customers in the SW19 and CR0 postcode areas were affected by the low pressure this morning.
Croydon Council said a “massive” clean-up operation is now under way. Many residents have already been re-housed after their homes were destroyed by fire or sealed off by the emergency services.
Other councils including Hackney, Greenwich, Ealing and Lewisham said their own clean-up operations were underway.