Coming up in 2024: New trains on the DLR in spring

A little look now covering things set to happen this coming year and one noticeable change across much of London will be the introduction of new DLR trains before April this year.

Along with an eventual 54 trains replacing 33 comes an entirely new colour scheme with turquoise the order of the day.

New colour scheme

With more than a passing resemblance to the Paris Metro the change signals the end of the red colour scheme – on a large chunk of the fleet anyway.

With the advent of new stock with entirely walk-through carriages and aircon (praise be!) we lose trains that date back to 1991 at their oldest.

On test

Recent trips on those earliest existing trains had me reminiscing about those little things that were all new back in the 1990s such as walk-through articulated carriages with the centre section turning along with the train.

Standing on these as a kid swinging this way and that as the carriages bounced along beat the bus anyday.

Spinny circular area inside DLR carriage

Of course, couple more than one train (and we eventually would see three often coupled together) and they weren’t articulated throughout which new stock aims to rectify.

DLR branch to Lewisham

The new stock also leads to an overall net increase in trains so some routes that currently see two trains coupled will become the equivalent of three-car trains.


Being entirely walk-through also ensures a net increase in capacity as does the removal of some seats to enable more standing space alongside wheelchair sections.

Interior of new stock

There is still some at the front so you can drive them, but they look pretty narrow. Whether two can sit beside each other remains to be seen.

Forward-facing seats will be missed given the DLR affords some of the best views of any network in London from the bridges over Deptford Creek.

View from DLR

As well as snaking through the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf.

Changing views seen from the DLR. Area on left named North Quay will see a number of towers 

Plus other sections heading over viaducts across east London heading towards Bank or Tower Gateway plus along Silvertown beside City Airport and parallel to the Thames.

Not that it’ll be a massive change for many given some of the older stock already saw changing internally during a previous refurbishment and all stock arriving for the past 20 years has mostly had longitudinal seating.

Older stock has already seen some transverse seating removed at prior refurbishment

And the upsides are more capacity- which the DLR will need in coming decades – and space for wheelchairs and buggies.


Ridership on the DLR was also expected to drop when the Elizabeth line begun even before the pandemic hit. Though it was projected to be short-lived as major growth areas line almost every route.

What we’ve seen is the DLR show strong recovery above TfL expectations even alongside the Elizabeth line while new developments arrive thick and fast. One such example was nearly 900 homes approved in Canning Town just before Chritsmas.

Projected housing near Canning Town station

That’s close to many others in Canning Town alone. A trip on the Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal, Beckton and both Stratford branches shows many sites underway. Those sites that aren’t built on probably have pending proposals.

Deanston Wharf development in Silvertown will bring 800 homes on Woolwich Arsenal branch. Site in foreground also forthcoming housing 

And of course there’s Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs. Get off at Marsh Wall and you’ll find numerous towers currently under construction within a short radius.

South Quay DLR station on left. Looking west at new towers


A total of 54 news trains built by CAF in Spain should begin entering services from March 2024 if Transport for London’s targets are met. They first started arriving a year ago in January 2023 with testing across the network ever since.

There was a hiccup when a contractor building new sidings in Beckton went under. TfL’s recent board meetings state this shouldn’t hamper initial introduction too greatly but clearly they need to be ready as more stock arrives.

This stock remains alongside new trains

All are due in service by 2026.

When they’re all here nicely at home in completed sidings routes such as Woolwich Arsenal to Stratford International will see a doubling of frequencies alongside more trains on the Lewisham line.




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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    3 thoughts on “Coming up in 2024: New trains on the DLR in spring

    • Sorry to raise this, but with fully walkthrough trains, we’ll likely see an increase in people asking for £€$ and selling goods as with the overground.

    • The beggars seemed to have disappeared. I haven’t seen any in recent months. I guess they are not getting enough to make it worth the bother.

      • Saw one on the Central line coming into Oxford Circus on New Year’s day. He pulled open the doors between carriages to pass through as if he’d done it only too often before.
        Also heard the driver requesting people not to give anything to the beggar so as to discourage them, which is sensible.


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