Anyone who makes extensive use of the Jubilee Line and DLR in the Canary Wharf area will be well aware that only tourists/visitors would ever try to switch between the Canary Wharf stations on each line, as Herron Quays on the DLR is much closer to the Jubilee Line station than its DLR namesake.

We have two Canary Wharf stations that are realistically, not that close to each other – but the problem will get magnified in the future when a third Canary Wharf station opens, which is not close to either of the two existing stations.

The below rough image may give an idea of the confusion

Three stations with the same name, all of which will have alternative stations to choose from if swapping between lines.

The reality is that if you are using Crossrail, the closest DLR will be West India Quays. If you are using the Jubilee Line, as existing users well understand, the closest DLR is Herron Quays.

The DLR station called Canary Wharf is isolated within the main shopping centre and not particularly close to either of its namesakes. Not just distant physically, but the pedestrian route to the Jubilee Line can be quite difficult for visitors to follow.

Time for a rethink?

The launch of Crossrail gives the London Underground a rare chance to change the tube maps in most trains on the network along with the routine updates of the larger maps in the stations. It could also therefore be a rare chance to consider the various ongoing calls to rename some stations – such as restoring Surrey Quays to Surrey Docks, or changing Archway to Dick Whittington.

Likewise, a chance to clean up the mess in Docklands?

My proposal – for what it is worth – mainly affects the DLR.

The DLR’s West India Quays becomes maybe Docklands for Crossrail.

The DLR’s Herron Quays becomes Canary Wharf.

The DLR’s existing Canary Wharf becomes maybe Canada Square (the name of the tall tower it is next to).

The Jubilee Line Canary Wharf is unchanged, while Crossrail becomes Docklands.

Thus:

It is now clear that the Canary Wharf Jubilee Line and DLR stations of the same name are close to each other. Equally, it is clear which DLR station is closest to the future Crossrail station.

Canada Square DLR station more accurately reflects its proximity to the tower, which is now just one of a large collection of towers in the Canary Wharf estate and no longer defines the area in the way it did when first built.

I suspect that renaming the Crossrail station from Canary Wharf to Docklands will be the most contentious aspect of the proposals, but I feel it would be difficult to retain the name without causing confusion with the other Canary Wharf stations.

You may rip the idea to pieces in the comments below ;)

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10 Comments

  1. Yes.

    Except.

    As names, “Docklands for Crossrail” and “Docklands Crossrail” are much too similar.

    The current Canary Wharf DLR station isn’t near Canada Square, the grassy square, so shouldn’t be named after it.

    The current Canary Wharf DLR station can cope with lots of passengers, whereas Heron Quays definitely can’t.

    Southbound DLR trains from Stratford don’t get as far as Heron Quays, so passengers can’t change there.

    (and the geographical clincher…)

    50 years ago “Canary Wharf” was a cargo warehouse located roughly where Canary Wharf DLR is today. It was not on the other side of the dock where Heron Quays is.

    So.

    No.

  2. Shelfside

    I’d be more interested in changing Arsenal station back to Gillespie Road

  3. Otter

    No to ‘Docklands’. The name properly refers to all docks and ex-docks from St Katherines to the Royal Albert. Hi-jacking it for the West India Docks alone would be both bad direction and bad history.

  4. Jan Poklewski

    Interesting ideas there Ian. I don’t think there’s a perfect answer to the situation. I think one of the main problems at the moment is the lack of clear, decent sized signage especially if interchanging via the shopping centre. I think a big sign at the exit of Canary Wharf Jubilee Line saying DLR to Lewisham (pointing to Heron Quays) and one saying DLR to Stratford and Bank pointing to Canary Wharf DLR would be a help.

    As for the post-Crossrail world, it would he a shame not to show on the tube map that there is a Crossrail – Jubilee Line interchange even if it is a bit of a hike. Also, peak hour trains from Bank don’t stop at West India Quay so less savvy travellers may prefer to be directed from the Crossrail station to the existing Canary Wharf DLR. All in all keeping the existing Canary Wharf stations and giving the Crossrail station the same name does allow a not unreasonable interchange between all three modes though people in the know will definitely benefit in most cases from using Heron Quays and West India Quay when changing to the DLR. How about calling these two stations Canary Wharf South for Jubilee Line and Canary Wharf North for Crossrail respectively?

    Fascinating article anyway Ian. It’s a pity the interchanges aren’t simpler and shorter at Canary Wharf but at least it gives visitors a bit of a chance to see the area when heading out to places like Greenwich!

  5. Careful with directing non-locals to W.India Quay by default, since not all trains stop there nowadays…

  6. IslandResident

    I think the best we can realistically ask for is better signposting.

    By the way. Won’t it be slightly more complicated than you suggest? Depending on whether the exits from Crossrail are situated near the walking bridge over Aspen Way, it might be that Poplar DLR is the nearest to Crossrail. (Especially relevant for anyone changing off the Beckton or Woolwich branch)

  7. Dave A

    I’m afraid West India Quay won’t be the nearest DLR station to Canary Wharf Crossrail.

    The plans for the station involve north-south connections into the parallel sides of the dock to the station. On the north side, one of these will “land” almost directly in line with the Poplar DLR / Aspen Way footbridge, and so the idea is that this footbridge will be linked to the Crossrail station through the future North Quay development (more skyscrapers).

    So in theory, Crossrail passengers heading north or east should head to Poplar DLR whilst those heading south of west should head to Canary Wharf DLR (more frequent trains).

  8. John Mac

    How about renaming West India Quay to West India Import Dock; Heron Quay and Canary Wharf Jubilee to West India Export Dock. Canary Warf DLR remains unchanged?

    • IanVisits

      The exact names chosen is not that important – just doing something to sort out the confusion.

      In essence, we have a cluster of stations to the North, a cluster to the south, and a single isolated station in the middle.

  9. andrew

    i do like name changes – currently dlr people think jubbiee is directly under the DLR station which shows on map its clashes so better if they changed name to less confusing – so you might know about shepherd bush market which had old name as same as central line so that was renamed prior opening wood lane station

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