Docklands Light Railway

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Docklands Light Railway
Colour on map Double Turquoise stripe
Year opened 1987
Line type Primarily elevated
Rolling stock DLR B Stock
Stations served 38
Length (km) 31
Length (miles) 19
Depots Poplar
Beckton
Journeys made 60,000,000 (per annum)
Rail lines of
Transport for London
London Underground lines
  Bakerloo
  Central
  Circle
  District
  East London
  Hammersmith & City
  Jubilee
  Metropolitan
  Northern
  Piccadilly
  Victoria
  Waterloo & City
Other lines
  Docklands Light Railway
  Tramlink
  Overground (starts November 2007)

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is a light rail public transport metro serving the redeveloped Docklands area of east London, England and the surrounding area. The DLR has separate tracks and rolling stock from the London Underground, but the two systems share a ticketing system and the DLR appears on the London Underground’s Tube map.

All the trains are computer-controlled and have no driver: a passenger service agent (PSA) on each train is responsible for patrolling the train, checking tickets, making announcements, and controlling the doors. PSAs can also take control of the train in case of computer failure or emergency. Overground stations are unstaffed and underground stations staffed, with a few exceptions.

Operation and maintenance of the DLR has been carried out by a private franchise since 1997. The current franchise, due to expire in April 2013, belongs to Serco Docklands Ltd, a company jointly formed by Serco and the former DLR management team.

The DLR system is undergoing constant expansion, with 38 stations currently on the system.

Contents

[edit] History

Image:DLR tower gateway.jpg
Tower Gateway station was the DLR’s original link to central London.

[edit] Initial system

The DLR was conceived in the late 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to aid the regeneration of the docks of East London, which had been derelict since the 1960s. LDDC had powers to secure land in the now derelict docks for regeneration, which it did through compulsory purchase where necessary. As originally conceived, the system was to be entirely above ground and consist of three branches, with their termini at Tower Gateway, Stratford, and Island Gardens. The early plan was an underground line with connections from Charing Cross to Woolwich Arsenal via Fenchurch Street, Surrey Docks, Isle of Dogs, North Greenwich and Custom House. However things changed when the Conservative Government took office on 4 May 1979. They ordered the study into feasible light rail options, resulting in the birth of the DLR.

The initial idea was to use modern tram-derived light rail vehicles, with overhead current collection, manual driving, and some street running. The LDDC, however, wanted to showcase cutting-edge technology and disliked overhead wires, and so chose an automatically-driven system with third-rail current collection, but still using tram-derived vehicles. Most of the track was elevated, either on new lightweight concrete viaducts or on disused railway viaducts, with some use of disused surface-level railway right of way. The system was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 31 July 1987, with passenger service starting a month later, on 31 August.

The system was lightweight, with stations and trains only a single articulated vehicle long. The three branches together totalled 13 km,<ref name="facts">Docklands Light Railway (2005). Facts, with 13 stations. Retrieved February 26 2006.</ref> were connected by a flat triangular junction near Poplar. Services ran Tower Gateway-Island Gardens and Stratford-Island Gardens, meaning that the north side of the junction was not used in regular passenger service.


[edit] First extensions

Image:Tower Gateway DLR station 3.jpg
The view from Tower Gateway looking east shows Fenchurch Street approach tracks to the left, the original DLR line in the centre, and DLR train emerging from the tunnel to Bank to the right

The initial system proved too lightweight for its job, as the Docklands area developed rapidly into a major financial centre and employment zone. Additionally, the Tower Gateway terminus, situated at the very edge of the City of London, attracted criticism for its poor connections.

In response to this, all stations and trains were extended to two-unit lengths, and the system was extended into the heart of the City of London with a tunnel to Bank underground station, which opened in 1991. This extension diverged from the initial western branch, leaving Tower Gateway station on a limb. It also rendered the initial car fleet obsolete, as its construction was not suitable for use underground (see Rolling Stock, below).

At the same time, the areas in the east of Docklands needed better transport connections to encourage development. This resulted in a fourth branch being constructed, from Poplar via Canning Town transport interchange to Beckton, running along the north side of the Royal Docks complex. As part of this extension, one side of the original flat triangular junction was replaced with a grade-separated junction west of Poplar, and a new grade-separated junction was created at the divergence of the Stratford and Beckton lines east of Poplar. Poplar station was rebuilt to provide cross-platform interchange between the Stratford and Beckton lines.

The growth of the Canary Wharf office complex required the redevelopment of Canary Wharf DLR station from a small wayside station to a large complex with six platforms serving three tracks, beneath a large overall roof and fully integrated into the malls below the office towers. The original DLR station was never completed.

Once Canary Wharf became a major financial employment centre, demands came to improve transport connections with residential areas in south-east London. This was met by an extension of the DLR from Island Gardens in tunnel under the River Thames to Greenwich and then on a new elevated route paralleling Deptford Creek to an interchange at the major rail junction of Lewisham. Besides providing two new rail interchanges at Greenwich and Lewisham, this branch also serves the tourist area of Greenwich, with a new station at Cutty Sark.

A new eastward branch from Canning Town to King George V, serving the London City Airport, opened on 2 December 2005. It runs along the southern side of the Royal Docks complex, with many developments planned along the route.

[edit] Current system

Image:Dlr.canary.wharf.arp.750pix.jpg
A Docklands Light Railway train enters Canary Wharf from the south.

The DLR now includes 31 km of track.<ref name="facts">Docklands Light Railway (2005). Facts. Retrieved February 26, 2006.</ref> There are five branches: to Lewisham in the south, Stratford in the north, Beckton and King George V in the east, and to Central London, splitting to serve Bank and Tower Gateway. Although the system allows many different combinations of routings, at present the following four routes are operated in normal service:

  • Bank to Lewisham
  • Tower Gateway to Beckton
  • Stratford to Lewisham
  • Bank to King George V

Some trains on the Stratford line turn back at Crossharbour and London Arena rather than continuing to Lewisham. There are also occasional trains from Tower Gateway to Crossharbour and Lewisham. There are no limited-stop trains on the DLR - each train serves every stop along its route.

The northern and southern branches terminate at the National Rail (main line) stations at Stratford and Lewisham respectively. Other direct interchanges between the DLR and National Rail are at Limehouse, Canning Town and Greenwich.

[edit] Map

Image:Docklands Light Railway.svg
A geographically-accurate map of the Docklands Light Railway

[edit] Stations

Image:DLR Westferry aerial view.jpg
An eastbound train leaving Westferry Station.

Many DLR stations are elevated, with a few at street level, in cutting, or underground. Access to the platforms is normally by staircase, with very few stations having escalators. Since 2000, all DLR stations have had lifts or ramps, making them accessible by wheelchair. The stations have high platforms, matching the floor height of the cars, allowing easy access to the trains for passengers with wheelchairs or buggies.

Most of the stations conform to a simple modular design dating back to the initial system, albeit extended. This design has two side platforms, each with separate access from the street, and platform canopies with a distinctive rounded roof design. Almost all stations are unstaffed, although for legislative reasons the three underground stations, Bank, Island Gardens, and Cutty Sark, are staffed, along with a few of the busier interchange stations.

[edit] Stations on west to east branches

[edit] Bank branch

Opened 1991.

  • Terminus: Bank for Central London
[edit] Tower Gateway branch
[edit] Middle section

At Canning Town the line splits in two - one line to Beckton (since 1994), and one to King George V via London City Airport (since 2005).

[edit] Beckton branch

Opened 1994.

From Canning Town continuing towards Beckton.

[edit] London City Airport branch

Opened December 2 2005.

Image:DLR LCA Ext.PNG
LCA Branch Map

From Canning Town continuing towards King George V.

[edit] Stations on north to south branches

Trains heading south from Bank or Tower Gateway join the line here

[edit] Closed DLR stations

  • Mudchute (relocated on a different site)
  • Island Gardens (relocated underground on a different site)
  • Heron Quays (relocated on different site)

[edit] Fares and ticketing

Ticketing for single and return journeys is part of the London Underground fare zone system, and Travelcards that cover the correct zones are valid.

There are also one-day and season DLR-only ‘Rover’ tickets available, plus a one-day DLR ‘Rail and River Rover’ ticket for use on the DLR and on City Cruises river boats. Oyster Pre-Pay is also available on the DLR — passengers need to both touch in and touch out their Oyster cards on the readers at the entrance / exit to the platforms, or pass through the automatic gates at selected stations.

Tickets must be purchased from ticket machines at the entrance to the platforms, and are required before the passenger enters the platform. There are no ticket barriers in DLR-only stations, and correct ticketing is enforced by on-train checks by the Passenger Service Agent. Exceptions to this rule are Bank, Canning Town, and Stratford stations, where the DLR platforms are located within the barrier lines of a London Underground or National Rail station.

The DLR is used by anything up to a hundred thousand people daily, with around 60 million journeys yearly.

[edit] Rolling stock

Image:Dlr emu at tower gateway.jpg
A DLR train is headed by B2K stock car 96, shown at Tower Gateway station

Main Article: Docklands Light Railway rolling stock

The DLR is operated by high-floor, bi-directional, single-articulated cars with four doors on each side, with each train composed of two cars. The cars have no driver’s cab, although there is a small driver’s console concealed behind a locked panel at each car end from which the PSA can drive the car in an emergency. Other consoles at each door opening allow the PSA to control door closure and make announcements whilst patrolling the train. Because of the absence of a driver’s position, the fully-glazed car ends provide an excellent forward (or rear) view for passengers. The current stock has a top speed of 50mph (80km/hour).

Despite having high floors and being highly automated, the cars are derived from a German light-rail design intended for use in systems with elements of street running. All the cars that have operated on the system to date look similar, but there have been several different types, some still in service and others sold to other operators. A further car type, with quite different styling, is due to be introduced in 2007.

[edit] Signalling technology

Originally, the DLR used signalling based on a fixed block technology, but this was upgraded in the 1990s to a moving-block system developed by Alcatel, called SelTrac. The same technology is used for other rapid transit systems, including Vancouver's SkyTrain, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and Hong Kong's transit system. Transmissions occur between the train's onboard computer and the control centre at Poplar. If this link is broken, the train stops until it is authorised to move again. If the whole system fails the train will run at only 12mph for safety until the system is restored. Also, emergency brakes can be applied if the train breaks the speed limit during manual control, or if the train leaves the station when the route has not been set. <ref> Railway Technology (2006) Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Extensions, London, United Kingdom Retrieved 23 November 2006 </ref>

[edit] Future developments

With the rapid development of the eastern Docklands as part of the ‘Thames Gateway’ initiative and London’s successful bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, several extensions and enhancements are under construction, being planned or being discussed.<ref name="dlrdev">Docklands Light Railway (2005). DLR Development Projects Retrieved February 23 2006.</ref>:

[edit] New platforms at Stratford

Status - Under Construction

Currently the DLR has only one platform at Stratford, which limits capacity and ease of interchange with other platforms. Two replacement platforms are under construction and expected to open in 2007. The first is expected to open in January 2007, with the decommissioning of the old platform at this time. Full station opening is expected in spring 2007.

[edit] Woolwich Arsenal Extension

Status - Under Construction

An extension of the London City Airport branch from King George V to Woolwich Arsenal is under construction. This requires a second DLR tunnel crossing of the River Thames. The projected cost of £150 million is expected to be met through the Private Finance Initiative. Construction began in June 2005, with the boring machine being entered in June 2006, and is due to be completed in February 2009.<ref name="dlrwae">Docklands Light Railway (2006). Mayor launches tunnelling of DLR Woolwich Arsenal Extension Retrieved April 28 2006.</ref>

[edit] Langdon Park station

Status - Under Construction <ref> Construction begins</ref>

A planning application for a station at Langdon Park between All Saints and Devons Road has been approved. A contractor has been chosen and construction started on 17 November 2006, with the station being due to open in late 2007, as the work is said to take 13 months. During construction starts trains may be suspended between Poplar and Stratford, or may terminate at All Saints.<ref name="lpdsplan">Docklands Light Railway. Langdon Park development information.</ref>

[edit] Shadwell

Status - Under Construction

Shadwell is due to undergo refurbishment although details are not specific. It will remain open during the work, which is due to finish in 2007.

[edit] Upgrading Bank - Lewisham route to 3-car trains

Status - Transport & Works Act and financial approval given

There is formal approval to upgrade the lines between Bank station and Lewisham station to allow operation of 3-car trains and increase capacity. More frequent trains were considered as an alternative, but it was found that the necessary signalling changes would be as expensive as upgrading to longer trains, and provide fewer benefits.<ref name="dlrcapen">Docklands Light Railway.(2005). DLR Capacity Enhancement. Retrieved February 26, 2006.</ref>

It is expected that the work will be carried out during 2007-2009. The work involves the lengthening of platforms on most stations (except Bank), together with viaduct-strengthening works to support the longer trains. Most of this section dates from the initial system originally built for single-car operation. South Quay station will require relocating as nearby curves preclude lengthening. The underground Cutty Sark station will not be extended due to the cost and the risk to nearby historic buildings. Instead, use of Selective Door Operation (SDO) has been approved by the Railway Inspectorate at this station.

Although not on the Bank - Lewisham route, two other stations are included in the plans in order to improve operational flexibility. Poplar station has already been lengthened in advance of the work being done at other stations in order to confirm that the proposed method of construction is satisfactory before committing to it elsewhere. Tower Gateway is due to be converted from its current two-track terminal layout into a single longer platform. However the exact details of the Tower Gateway work are under review.<ref name="mrmarch">Ian Allan Publishing. Modern Railways. March 2006.</ref>

[edit] Stratford International Extension / North London Line conversion

Status - Approved 25 October 2006, Construction begins: 2007

This will be an extension from Canning Town to the new Stratford International station, taking over the North London Line infrastructure and linking Docklands with domestic and international high-speed services on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Four new stations will be built, at Star Lane (formerly known as Cody Road), Abbey Road, Stratford High Street, and Stratford International. The branch will also serve London Underground and National Rail stations at West Ham and Stratford. All stations will be capable of accommodating three-unit trains. The North London Line will terminate at Stratford in new platforms.

As part of the Transport & Works Act (TWA) application, the DLR station at Royal Victoria on the Beckton branch will be extended to accommodate three-unit trains. Additionally it will have a third platform. The extra platform becomes possible because the part of the North London Line due to be abandoned currently runs parallel to Royal Victoria station.<ref name="rvdsplan">Docklands Light Railway. Map showing proposed Royal Victoria station. Retrieved February 26, 2006.</ref>

The extension is projected to open early in 2010 and is an important part of the transport improvement package for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will largely be held on a site adjoining Stratford International. The latest Underground Tube map unveiled in late September 2006 notes that the section of the North London Line will be closed on December 10 2006 to begin conversion to DLR.

On October 25 2006, the government gave approval for this proposed extension to go ahead.<ref name="siedlr">Docklands Light Railway. 'Stratford International extension approved' article. Retrieved October 25 2006.</ref>

[edit] Upgrading other lines to 3-car trains

Status - Transport & Works Act approved

Once the work to allow 3-car trains between Bank and Lewisham has been completed, the only parts of the network unable to accommodate longer trains will be between Poplar and Stratford, and between Poplar and Beckton. There is therefore a proposal to upgrade the remainder of the line, with the aim of carrying out the work between 2008 and 2010.

As part of this work, it is proposed to enhance the junction north of West India Quay, which would preclude services on the Bank to Lewisham route from stopping at West India Quay. This would also allow services from Beckton and Woolwich to terminate at Canary Wharf or Lewisham.

[edit] Barking Reach extension

Status - Being planned, route safeguarded - 2016

This is a proposed extension from Gallions Reach to Dagenham Dock via the riverside at Barking. This would connect the Barking Reach area, a formerly industrial area now undergoing major redevelopment as part of the London Riverside, with the Docklands. This new route would cover major developments at Creekmouth, Barking Riverside, Dagenham Dock Opportunity Area, and five stations have been planned at Beckton Riverside, Creekmouth, Barking Riverside, Dagenham Vale and Dagenham Dock. The extension is key if English Partnerships' plan is to work. A possible opening date according to the DLR website is 2016, but Mayor Ken Livingstone is keen to have the extension open before the 2012 Olympic Games.

[edit] Thames Wharf station

Status - Proposed

This station had been included as potential future development on the London City Airport extension since it was first planned. It would be between Canning Town and West Silvertown, due west of the western end of Royal Victoria Dock. Since the station's intended purpose is to serve the surrounding area (currently a mix of brownfield and run-down industrial sites) when it is regenerated, the development is indefinitely on hold due to the area being safeguarded for the Silvertown Link, a new Thames river crossing proposed for opening by 2015.<ref name="atoproj41">AlwaysTouchOut.com (2005). Silvertown Link Retrieved February 24 2006.</ref>

[edit] Connaught Road/Silvertown Interchange station

Status - Proposed

A site near to London City Airport has been identified as a possible additional station on the London City Airport extension. It would be an possible interchange with Crossrail, between London City Airport and Pontoon Dock. However, no plans have emerged as to when this station is to be planned and built. The original extension was designed to allow a station to be built here. It may be located south of the Connaught Crossing.<ref name="atoproj9">AlwaysTouchOut.com (2006). DLR to City Airport. Retrieved February 26 2006.</ref>

[edit] Charing Cross extension

Status - Proposed - 2026

In February 2006 a proposal to extend the DLR to Charing Cross station (running from either the Bank or Tower Gateway DLR branches) was revealed.<ref name="mrmarch">Ian Allan Publishing. Modern Railways. March 2006.</ref> The idea, originating from a DLR "Horizon Study", is in very early stages at the moment, but would involve extending the line from in bored tunnels under Central London to the Charing Cross Jubilee line platforms, which would be brought back to public use. These platforms are on a spur that branches off the current Jubilee line and are not used by passenger trains.

While not specifically confirmed it is implied that the scheme would also use the existing overrun tunnels between the Charing Cross Jubilee platforms and a location slightly to the west of Aldwych. These tunnels were intended to be incorporated into the abandoned Phase 2 of the 'Fleet Line' (Phase 1 became the original Jubilee Line, prior to the Jubilee Line Extension). However they would need some enlargement because DLR gauge is larger than tube gauge and modern safety regulations would almost certainly require a walkway to be provided in the tunnel.

The two reasons reported as driving the proposal were capacity problems at Bank, having basically one interchange between the DLR and the central portion of Underground, and the difficult journeys faced by passengers from Kent and South Coast between their rail termini and the DLR. Stations would possibly be at St. Pauls, with subway connections towards the Millenium Bridge, City Thameslink, and Aldwych, for future connection with the Cross River Tram and Charing Cross.

[edit] Works contingent on Crossrail

Status - Proposed

If Crossrail is approved some of the track between Bow Church and Stratford would need to be moved to the south. The opportunity would then be taken to double the track throughout and eliminate the only significant section of single track on the system.<ref name="mrmarch">Ian Allan Publishing. Modern Railways. March 2006.</ref>

The current route projections for the cross-London Crossrail Line 1 entail interchanges with the DLR at Custom House, Stratford, and the provision for interchanges at West India Quay (with Crossrail Isle of Dogs station) and London City Airport (with Crossrail Silvertown station). Another option would be to provide an interchange with a possible new station on the DLR (see Connaught Road/Silvertown Interchange station section above).<ref name="atoproj1">AlwaysTouchOut.com (2006). Crossrail. Retrieved February 23 2006.</ref>

[edit] Lewisham to Catford extension

Status - Proposed - 2026

This extension was looked at during the latest Horizon Study. The route would follow the Southeastern line and terminate between Catford station and Catford Bridge station. However early plans showed problems due to Lewisham DLR station being only marginally higher than the busy A20 road which impedes any proposed extension. The plan is however being revised. <ref>Always Touch Out DLR to Catford</ref>

[edit] See also

[edit] References

<references />

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


West: Crossings of the River Thames East:
Greenwich foot tunnel Lewisham branch,
between Island Gardens
and Cutty Sark
Jubilee Line
between Canary Wharf
and North Greenwich
Woolwich foot tunnel Woolwich branch,
between King George V
and Woolwich Arsenal
(under construction)
Thames Gateway Bridge
(planned)
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