TfL awards £350m contract to replace oldest DLR trains

CGI of the new DLR trains.

Commuters using the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) will benefit from “more frequent and reliable journeys from 2023,” after Transport for London (TfL) today announced plans to replace the oldest trains currently serving the railway.

TfL has awarded the £350m contract to design and manufacture new trains to Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, S.A (CAF). The 43 new trains in the initial contact include 33 to replace the oldest rolling stock on the DLR network, and an additional ten to boost capacity.

The order will replace the oldest rolling stock on the DLR which are nearly 30 years old and have come to the end of their design life. TfL say these old trains are in vital need of replacement to ensure a reliable service is maintained for customers.

With over 400,000 journeys made each weekday, the DLR is currently the busiest light railway in the UK and operates across six 'opportunity areas' in London, which have the potential to provide more than 124,000 homes and 200,000 jobs. There are around 45,000 of these homes already under construction, or with planning permission, within walking distance of the DLR.  

TfL say the additional capacity the trains will deliver is essential to support further growth beyond that already permitted, particularly in parts of the Royal Docks and the Isle of Dogs where the DLR is the main transport option.

Jon Fox, TfL’s director of rail and sponsored services, said: “Replacing the oldest trains on the DLR and introducing a new modern fleet will ensure the railway continues to support the current and future growth in the Docklands area. With walk-through carriages, real time travel information, air conditioning and mobile device charging points, the new trains will provide customers with a more comfortable and reliable service, replacing rolling stock that are nearly 30 years old and coming to the end of their operational life.”

TfL say the modernisation of the DLR is a key part of the mayor’s transport strategy to make London a greener, more accessible place to live, work and visit, as well as supporting new jobs and homes. The investment in improving public transport will help reduce reliance on the car and contribute to the mayor’s target of 80% of journeys made by public transport, cycling or walking by 2041.

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