TfL orders additional DLR trains to enhance customer experience

Posted: 3 July 2023 | | No comments yet

With improved capacity, these state-of-the-art trains promise Londoners more frequent, reliable and comfortable journeys from 2024, while supporting the growth of new homes and jobs across the city.

TfL orders additional DLR trains to enhance London's rail network

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has exercised an option to purchase 11 additional state-of-the-art DLR trains, funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This brings the total number of new trains to 54, which will be introduced from 2024. The trains are designed to offer customers more frequent, reliable and comfortable journeys.

The funding for the new DLR trains comes from the UK government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, initially agreed upon in 2019. These trains will help increase capacity and unlock 10,000 new homes across the network, particularly in the Royal Docks and the Isle of Dogs. The DLR had been created to support growth in the areas it serves, and these additional trains will contribute by providing improved services to Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal and Stratford.

The first two new DLR trains, featuring walk-through designs, real-time travel information, air conditioning and mobile device charge points, have been delivered and are undergoing extensive testing. Testing is currently taking place during overnight engineering hours and some planned closures. In later 2023, test trains will run during the day in between normal services, with a special train wrap to differentiate them from regular service trains.

By the end of 2026, all 54 new trains will be introduced, increasing the network’s capacity by over 60%. Each train will provide 10% more capacity and improved facilities for those with mobility impairments, including three multi-use areas and three dedicated wheelchair spaces.

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The DLR is a vital transport option for East London and the Docklands area and these upgrades will support new jobs and homes in the area, helping to make London a greener, fairer and more prosperous city for all.”

Tom Page, TfL’s General Manager for the DLR, said: “These new DLR trains will transform the journeys of millions of existing customers but will also give us the opportunity to welcome many more as new jobs and homes are created in east London and the Docklands area.”

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Lutfur Rahman, The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tower Hamlets is home to a rapidly growing population, and these improvements to the DLR network will vastly improve accessibility for all, making it easier for residents and visitors to travel around our borough.”

The DLR is the UK’s busiest light railway, with over 90 million journeys made each year. The new trains will offer more frequent direct services to Stratford, benefiting southeast London residents seeking employment in east London without passing through Zone 1. The DLR also connects to Canary Wharf and the Elizabeth line.

The DLR operates across six Opportunity Areas in London, with the potential to provide over 124,000 homes and 200,000 jobs. The additional capacity from the new trains will support sustainable growth, especially in the Royal Docks and the Isle of Dogs.

TfL has submitted a Strategic Outline Case to the government for an extension of the DLR in Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside. If approved, this expansion would require additional trains. TfL’s investment in public transport aims to reduce car dependence and achieve 80% of journeys made by public transport, cycling, or walking by 2041.

TfL is also investing in other infrastructure projects, such as replacing the aging Piccadilly line fleet and the Four Lines Modernization programme, which enhances Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan line services. These initiatives aim to improve reliability and encourage more customers to use the network as the city recovers.