News in London and beyond


No additional DLR trains until 2022

Bad news for commuters with news of no imminent increase of stock on the DLR.

Whilst the DLR is expected to receive 43 new trains to replace 33 existing trains and add extra capacity – it wont be before 2022.

The reliability rate of early 1990’s DLR stock is poor. The oldest stock on the network are now 25-27 years old with an intended design life of 25 years and so TfL are planning replacement as failures increase.

Older DLR stock tends to run about 5000-8000 kilometres per failure, which is much lower than most trains.

DLR seen on Woolwich branch

SE trains on London Metro routes aren’t much better though at 10000-15000 km per failure. Out of 35 types of trains built since the 1990’s, Southeastern’s are down at 22nd, 25th, 28th, 30th and 31st in the list of reliability.

South West Trains, who have just lost their franchise, have far less failures – in some cases they manage more than 50,000 kilometres between failures, and often with older trains.

The new DLR trains will be walk-through stock which will enhance capacity levels by 10%. Air con and on-board chargers are mooted. June 2022 is the scheduled introductory month – over five years away.

An arrival date of 2022 at the earliest does raise questions of capacity squeezes. Lewisham station has seen sharp growth with another tower revealed recently. Network Rail and the DfT seem to be planning for minimal extra capacity up to 2024 on South Eastern routes through the station.

Crossrail is supposed to mop up a great deal of people from the Woolwich branch. They’ll be a follow up post looking at housing developments from Woolwich Arsenal to Canning Town with large numbers of homes planned along that stretch. People are now starting to move into the 3000-home Royal Wharf development by Pontoon Dock.



  1. EssKay

    So a 5 year wait for more capacity on the DLR. Great.

    The increased demand associated with the massive building spree in SE & East London in the past 10-15 years was known about by TFL – why couldn’t the capacity increases have been planned in a joined up way? Other big cities seem to manage it.

    A 15-20 year cycle from knowing the demand was coming to delivering the capacity seems excessive to me

    • Comment by post author

      TfL did want to bring it forward I believe. Osborne cut their budget by £700m. He wont cover that in the Evening Standard

      • rational plan

        Mr Khan has blown the capital budget on a fare freeze. TFL are slashing capital all over the budget and now bus consultations are going to see bus services cut all over the capital.

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