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DLR goes from strength to strength

Posted: 13 June 2007 | Jonathan Fox, Director, Docklands Light Railway Limited | No comments yet

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months, recently carrying 60 million passengers for the first time in its 20-year history. The railway, part of Transport for London (TfL), is also undergoing a comprehensive programme of extensions and enhancements to meet demand and link to further areas in and around its network in East and South East London.

DLR’s record-breaking user numbers have resulted in part due to its consistently excellent punctuality levels – over 97% of trains arrive within three minutes of the scheduled time, the best for rail in mainland UK – and highest ever overall customer satisfaction levels, at 96%. Meanwhile DLR continues to directly serve prominent commuter areas such as Canary Wharf and a variety of locations that previously suffered from poor transport links.

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months, recently carrying 60 million passengers for the first time in its 20-year history. The railway, part of Transport for London (TfL), is also undergoing a comprehensive programme of extensions and enhancements to meet demand and link to further areas in and around its network in East and South East London.DLR’s record-breaking user numbers have resulted in part due to its consistently excellent punctuality levels – over 97% of trains arrive within three minutes of the scheduled time, the best for rail in mainland UK – and highest ever overall customer satisfaction levels, at 96%. Meanwhile DLR continues to directly serve prominent commuter areas such as Canary Wharf and a variety of locations that previously suffered from poor transport links.

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has enjoyed a hugely successful 12 months, recently carrying 60 million passengers for the first time in its 20-year history. The railway, part of Transport for London (TfL), is also undergoing a comprehensive programme of extensions and enhancements to meet demand and link to further areas in and around its network in East and South East London.

DLR’s record-breaking user numbers have resulted in part due to its consistently excellent punctuality levels – over 97% of trains arrive within three minutes of the scheduled time, the best for rail in mainland UK – and highest ever overall customer satisfaction levels, at 96%. Meanwhile DLR continues to directly serve prominent commuter areas such as Canary Wharf and a variety of locations that previously suffered from poor transport links.

The opening of the London City Airport extension in December 2005 has created significant new demand, attracting 3.9m passengers in its first financial year and accounting for the transportation of 49% of travellers to the airport, a figure initially projected for the third year of operation and the highest rail link percentage usage for any UK airport.

DLR’s success has been externally recognised throughout the past year, with highlights including winning the overall Railway Industry Innovation Award and London Planning Award for ‘Best Public Sector Planning Organisation’.

Far from resting on its laurels, DLR has set itself a number of challenging projects for completion over the next few years, which will accommodate booming passenger numbers and open up access to the railway for millions of new passengers.

Next stop Woolwich

Construction is well underway to extend the City Airport extension to Woolwich Arsenal. The 2.5km Woolwich Arsenal extension, part of TfL’s Investment Programme, will run under the Thames from DLR King George V station and connect with Woolwich town centre.

Due to open in early 2009 the route will provide significantly improved transportation for the surrounding community, connecting Woolwich to London City Airport in five minutes, Canary Wharf in 19 minutes and Bank in 27 minutes. Local residents will benefit from improved access to employment and education opportunities, and Woolwich and the southern Royal Docks will see the creation of new jobs, homes, shops and leisure facilities.

Linking to Stratford International

Construction has recently started on a further DLR extension to Stratford International, beginning with major works on platforms, tracks and infrastructure at Stratford station.

Also funded by TfL’s Investment Programme, the route, which is projected to open in 2010, will be established by converting the former North London Line tracks between Canning Town and Stratford to DLR operation. The extension will encompass existing stations at Canning Town, West Ham and Stratford, and new stations at Star Lane, Abbey Road, Stratford High Street and Stratford International, the latter serving the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

The extension will provide capacity and flexibility for future growth along the Lower Lea Valley and offer a more frequent and reliable service to that previously in place.

Improved Stratford services

The opening of two new platforms later this year at DLR Stratford station, on the railway’s north route, will replace an existing single platform and prove invaluable in meeting the demands of future growth. There will be a large increase in passengers at Stratford over the next few years as a result of the opening of the Stratford International station; ongoing development of Stratford City; and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The new platforms will connect directly into the Jubilee station building and provide improved passenger waiting facilities, information services and seating all in a striking architectural design. A bridge connection will offer direct access to the Central Line on the London Underground.

Langdon Park lined up

A new DLR station will open at Langdon Park, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in autumn of 2007 to bridge the gap between All Saints and Devons Road stations on the Stratford route.

Langdon Park station will improve public transport accessibility for the local area as it will have a central location to local communities and will encourage regeneration by offering greater opportunities for residents and stimulating commercial and residential development within the area.

Extending to three-car

In order to safely and comfortably accommodate growing passenger numbers, and maintain a frequent and reliable service, work has begun on capacity enhancements that will enable DLR to lengthen its trains from two to three-car on its busiest route, Bank/Tower Gateway to Lewisham. The extended trains are due to start running by Autumn 2009.

Additionally an application has been made to allow three-car trains to operate across the rest of the DLR network; if successful work is expected to begin in early 2008 and conclude in mid-2010.

In order to achieve a three-car service 55 new rail cars will be added to the DLR fleet in 2008-09.

In the meantime DLR’s existing 94 rail cars have recently been given an exterior and interior refit as part of a comprehensive upgrade programme.

Onwards to Dagenham?

Moving forward DLR is working towards an application for powers to extend the railway to Dagenham Dock, again assisting with the delivery of sustainable growth and regeneration.

The extension is proposed to consist of five new stations – Beckton Riverside, Creekmouth, Barking Riverside, Dagenham Vale and Dagenham Dock – which will serve extensive planned and approved riverside developments.

A Transport and Works Act application is intended to be submitted in early 2008, with a view to the extension opening in 2016 subject to funding being secured.

A platform for success

With DLR marking its 20th anniversary in August 2007 it clearly has much to celebrate.

Since opening, the railway has grown and developed more quickly that any other in the UK while maintaining unprecedented levels of reliability and customer services. With further rapid progress due over the next few years, DLR is set to remain one of transport’s success stories.

For more information visit www.dlr.co.uk

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