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The Sutton Link is a planned new Tramlink line or separate bus rapid transit (BRT) in London, between Wimbledon or Colliers Wood via St Helier to Sutton.[1][2] As of 2020, it is the only Tramlink extension actively being pursued by the Mayor of London and TfL as part of The Mayor's Transport Strategy 2018 and the New London Plan.[3][4]

Depending on the route chosen, the development could support Opportunity Areas at Wimbledon and Sutton, the South Wimbledon/Colliers Wood Area for Intensification, the Morden Housing Zone, and intensification along the route at Rose Hill. The extension would aim to support the delivery of at least 10,000 homes and thousands of jobs.[5] The London Borough of Sutton council have also proposed a further extension to the London Cancer Hub campus[6][7] as a long-term part of the development.

In February 2020, TFL endorsed Route Option 2, Colliers Wood - Sutton, operating as a tram route, as the preferred option, conditional on any changes that may force a reevaluation during the funding procurement period.[8]

It was announced on 24 July 2020 that the extension has been put on hold by TfL due to funding issues.[9]

In 2023 there was significant talk about the Sutton Link. In March, Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey expressed frustration over the lack of funding and support from TfL and the London Mayor, and called for fair investment in Sutton’s public transport.[10] In April, London Mayor Sadiq Khan was criticised by Conservative MP Paul Scully for imposing the ULEZ charge on Sutton residents without providing them with better transport options. Khan defended the delay of the project, citing a huge funding gap and questioning the feasibility of the tram extension as a solution.[11] Meanwhile the Northern Line extension to Battersea, which was completed in 2021, was funded by the GLA at the cost of £1.1 Billion.[12] In December, a TfL Customer Service Adviser stated that the Sutton Link project was still on hold due to the pandemic, and that its progress depended on securing funding agreements with various stakeholders. He also said that TfL was reviewing ways to increase tram usage in London, and that the Sutton Link was the only tram extension under consideration.


2013: Initial proposals

In July 2013, the then-Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that there was a reasonable business case for Tramlink to cover the corridor between Wimbledon and Sutton, and a map explaining the planned routing and stops followed. It would leave the existing route just to the east of Morden Road and head along the A24 and A297 to Rosehill Roundabout, then the B2230 through Sutton town centre, ending at the station; a loop via St Helier Hospital and a possible extension to Royal Marsden Hospital also are shown.[13] In the London 2050 infrastructure plan, an extension of the Tramlink to Sutton was given a medium priority with a timescale of 2030.[14]

2014: Sutton and Merton Consult on Tram Link Extension

In 2014, a proposed £320m scheme for a new line to connect Wimbledon to Sutton via Morden was made and brought to consultation jointly by the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton. The consultation aimed to gauge support for the extension, as well as for different routes proposed.[15] The consultation offered three choices of northern terminus (Wimbledon, South Wimbledon on-street, South Wimbledon off-street), with or without the loop serving St Helier Hospital directly, and for the Sutton loop to either run entirely around the Sutton gyratory or divert north along the High Street. The results overwhelmingly supported the extension, with majorities supporting the northern terminus at Wimbledon, including a loop to serve St Helier Hospital, and running entirely around the gyratory. Although £100m from TfL was initially secured in the draft 2016/17 budget,[16] this was subsequently reallocated.[17] In May 2016, the current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he remained committed to the project however, and called on Sutton council to raise the shortfall in funding.[18][19]

2018: Merton Council Drop in events

In November and December 2018 Merton & Sutton Council held events in South Wimbledon, Sutton, Morden, Colliers Wood, Wimbledon, Carshalton and Mitcham. They also mentioned that In July and August 2014, Merton and Sutton Councils asked residents businesses and others what they thought of a proposed new Tramlink which would run between the existing tram stop at Morden Road via Morden town centre, St Helier Avenue and on to Sutton town centre. Over 10,000 responses were received and the majority of respondents were in favour. The consultation reports were given to Transport for London to encourage the Mayor of London's support for the scheme.[20]

2019: Sadiq Kahns Commitment's

In 2019, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, answered a question from Steve O’Connell, an Assembly Member, about the Sutton Link project. The Mayor said that he was committed to the project, which would improve public transport and support housing and job growth in the area. He said that TfL had consulted the public on various route and mode options, and would make a recommendation based on the feedback. He also said that funding sources were being explored with the local councils and the national Government, and that the project could start in the mid-2020s if there were no delays. He acknowledged that there was a funding gap of about £255 million, as TfL was providing 70% of the funding, while Sutton and Merton were contributing 22% and 8% respectively. He asked for the Assembly Member’s support in lobbying the Government for additional funding, either directly or through other schemes such as land value capture or housing development. The Assembly Member thanked the Mayor for his support and asked why bus rapid transit was included as an option. The Mayor explained that this was to ensure that all possible alternatives were considered and that the best option was chosen.[21]

2020: TfL backs Sutton Tram Link, later Put on hold

In February 2020 TFL released a document backing the Sutton Link Project. They explored the various routes and explained that "Assuming we are successful in securing funding to deliver the project, Route Option 2 (Colliers Wood – Sutton) operated as a tram service has emerged as the preferred option." [22]

On Friday, July 24 the project was temporarily put on hold due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. TFL said they were pausing development work on the scheme "as the transport case is poor and there remains a significant funding gap". Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said that this involves making 'difficult choices' about which projects can be funded.[23]

2023: Sutton Pushes for TramLink Funding Amid ULEZ and Covid Challenges

In 2023, Councillor Ruth Dombey's remarks on the stalled tram link project were captured in a video uploaded on 15 March 2023.[24] In her speech, she highlighted the challenges and opportunities of the project, as well as the need for fair and adequate funding from Transport for London (TFL) and the mayor’s office. In this footage, she highlights the hurdles faced during the project's development, including extensive consultations and local support, only to encounter financial challenges when Transport for London's (TFL) funds became insufficient. Despite Sutton's contributions to other London transport projects, Dombey underscores the need for TFL and the mayor's office to fund essential infrastructure projects in Sutton, asserting that the borough deserves equitable public transport investment. Her concerns extend to the allocation of fines from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), with the mayor indicating that such funds would not be reinvested in Sutton. Dombey plans to address these issues with the TFL commissioner, focusing on practical solutions to move the tram link project forward.

On April 21, 2023, London Mayor Sadiq Khan faced criticism from Conservative MP Paul Scully for the delayed Sutton tram extension project, accused of imposing the ULEZ charge without enhancing public transport alternatives. Khan defended the delay, citing a £440 million funding gap and asserting the tram extension's inadequacy as a transport solution. Initiated two decades ago, the project was halted by TfL in the previous year, with only £100 million committed out of the estimated £560 million cost from TfL and local councils.[11] Notably, the Northern Line extension to Battersea, completed in 2021 at an estimated cost of £1.1 billion, was funded through the Greater London Authority (GLA), over which Sadiq Khan has some controls.[12]

On 12th, December 2023 Transport for London's (TFL) Customer Service Adviser said: “The Sutton Link was one of the capital enhancement programmes temporarily put on hold during the pandemic. Further progress will depend on funding agreements with other stakeholders such as local councils, the Department for Transport, as well as Government. Transport for London (TFL) are still reviewing how to significantly increase tram use in London, and the Sutton Link is currently the only extension being considered.”

Transport for London consultation

At the end of 2018, a TfL consultation opened on proposals for rapid transit between Sutton and Merton.[2] The consultation proposed three potential routes:

Option Northern terminus Route
1 South Wimbledon tube station From South Wimbledon tube station along Morden Road (A24), interchange with Morden Road tram stop, through Morden (300m from Morden tube station, through Rose Hill and St Helier, follows Sutton gyratory
2 Colliers Wood tube station From Colliers Wood tube station along Church Road, interchange with Belgrave Walk tram stop, along Morden Road (A239), through Rose Hill and St Helier, follows Sutton gyratory
3 Wimbledon Along Sutton Loop Line from Wimbledon, diverts from line at Collingwood Road before West Sutton, follows Sutton gyratory

It had been proposed that options 1 or 2 would cost £425m as a segregated tram line, but also could be delivered at £275m as a bus rapid transit (BRT) route. Also, both options 1 and 2 had potential for a direct link between Wimbledon station (with option 2 the easier route) and a potential loop for a direct connection with St Helier Hospital. Option 3 however was only proposed as a tram route, at £300m, with Thameslink services terminating at West Sutton and Wimbledon. Services on the intermediate stations would however be more frequent as a tram service than currently. Work could begin in 2022, with aim for completing in 2025.[25] Services to Wimbledon regardless of route would however be postponed several years to co-ordinate with Crossrail 2 works, due to the low capacity on tram platforms in the station and to limit disruption.

Preferred option

In their February 2020 report, responding to issues raised during the consultation, TfL announced their preference for a north–south tramway between Colliers Wood and Sutton town centre for £425m (in 2018 prices) on the condition of securing additional funding.[2] It has been announced £70m from the Mayor's Growth Fund had been allocated to the extension with a potential further £30m being available in the next TfL Business Plan, subject to an acceptable business case and funding package being reached by 2020.[26][27] An additional £50m has also been offered by the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton.[28] A further consultation will be held to confirm further design aspects.[8]

Proposed Routes


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  2. ^ a b c "Have your say on the Sutton Link: a major new public transport service for Sutton and Merton". Transport for London. 31 October 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
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  7. ^ "Proposed timescale - the London Cancer Hub - Sutton Council". Archived from the original on 11 April 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
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  9. ^ "'Kick in the teeth' - TfL pause tram extension to Sutton". Your Local Guardian. 29 July 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Budget 2023 - What happened to the Tramlink Sutton Extension?". YouTube. 15 March 2023.
  11. ^ a b "London minister criticises Sadiq Khan as Mayor confirms Sutton tram extension plan is still shelved". Standard. 21 April 2023.
  12. ^ a b "Khan and Shapps try to put differences aside as Northern line extension opens". The Guardian. 20 September 2021.
  13. ^ "Boris tells City Hall there is 'reasonable business case' for extending tram route to Sutton". Your Local Guardian. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
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  16. ^ "TfL commits £100m to extending tram network from Wimbledon to Sutton". Sutton Guardian. 15 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Why Croydon's tram network may now not be extended to Sutton". 10 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Sadiq Khan: Tram extension is a priority - 'but don't hold your breath'". Sutton Guardian. 19 May 2016.
  19. ^ "'Show more ambition': Sutton to review tram extension funding as Mayor calls on council to pledge more money". Sutton Guardian. 24 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Potential tramlink extension". Merton Council. 8 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Question: Sutton Tram Extension". LondonAssembly. 17 January 2019.
  22. ^ "TFL: Responses to issues raised February 2020" (PDF). insidecroydon. 24 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Long-awaited tram extension to Sutton has been put on hold by Transport for London". mylondon. 24 July 2020.
  24. ^ "Budget 2023 - What happened to the Tramlink Sutton Extension?". YouTube. 15 March 2023.
  25. ^ "Routes for the Wimbledon-Sutton tramlink extension revealed". Your Local Guardian. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
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  28. ^ "TfL commits £100m to extending tram network from Wimbledon to Sutton". Your Local Guardian. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2021.