Docklands Light Railway (D.L.R.)
- Date Established:
In the 1970s, the Port of London's freight-handling facilities moved to the deep-water container port at Tilbury. The centuries-old London Docks were quickly abandoned, with the loss of thousands of jobs. The area quickly became derelict.
In 1981, the London Dockland Development Corporation (L.D.D.C.) was formed to regenerate the area. The L.D.D.C., together with the private developer Trafalgar House and the Greater London Council (G.L.C.), published recommendations to build a light railway to improve the area.
The scheme was agreed and the design and build contract awarded to G.E.C. Mowlam in 1984. It was to be funded by the departments of transport and of the environment. The strict conditions included a stipulation that the project could not exceed its 77 million budget.
The original line comprised 15 stations, with three termini: at Tower Gateway, Stratford and Island Gardens. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the line on 30 July 1987. The first passenger service ran on 31 August, and an estimated 40,000 people travelled that day. This number far exceeded expectations: the first plans had allowed for a maximum of 1,500 passengers an hour to travel on the service. The actual figure rapidly rose to 12,000 an hour. Plans quickly developed to extend the line.
Additional funding for the extension was provided by Olympia & Wharf, the developers behind the Canary Wharf office scheme. Tunnelling from Bank Underground station began in March 1988, and the extension from Tower Gateway to Bank was completed in 1991. The line was further extended to Beckton in 1994. The extension to Lewisham was first proposed in 1989 and completed in 1999. Each of the four 'legs' of the line pass through the Poplar junction, which has been extensively enlarged over the years. The main D.L.R. headquarters, train control centre and maintenance centre is on railway land south of Poplar High Street. An additional depot was built at Beckton after the extension there.
The D.L.R. initially ran with just 11 trains. Each had a seating capacity for 84 people (210 standing) and two wheelchair bays. Large windows gave fine views over the Docklands. The trains, designed and built in Germany by Linke Hofmann Busch, are fully automated and driverless. The track-to-train block signalling system is managed from the central control room at Poplar. Operating on the SELTRAC system, the track is divided into 6.25metre-long sections. There is continuous communication between the train and the control room via these signalling blocks, which allows the control room to assess and instruct the action of each train as it runs. The train captains, officially called traffic assistants, carry out customer service duties but are trained to drive if necessary.
An extension from Canning Town to King George V station opened in December 2005, serving the City Airport. A further extension was under way in 2006 to Woolwich Arsenal, and there were plans to extend to Stratford International station in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games.
- Docklands Light Railway
What are these?
Social Bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser. Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice. Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking.