Update 30th Aug 5:55am: Despite the TfL website showing trains running every few minutes as expected, the platforms at Canning Town are still sealed off and a DLR train attendant told me they are still testing the line.
No idea when (if?) it will open.
Update 31st Aug: I’ve had an email from TfL confirming that it will open today – possibly at 11am, but more likely from 2pm.
After more delays than Garry Glitter had comeback tours, the DLR extension between Stratford International and Canning Town will finally open to the public next Tuesday morning.
According to the DLR press release, the long delayed service will announce its timetable on the same day the service goes live – namely the 30th August – but fortunately, the details are already live on the TfL website.
The very first public train (as opposed to an earlier media jolly) will be the 5:22am from Canning Town, with its counterpart leaving Stratford International at 5:25am.
You can even see some test trains running along the new track already appearing on the departure boards.
A journey time of nine minutes, that has taken over five years to deliver. Such has been the uncertainty as to when the service would ever open, that fellow blogger, Diamond Geezer has been running a sweepstake about the opening date.
In January 2007, a press release stated that the extension was “on course for completion by 2010″, with the works to “be completed by February 2009″
In December 2007, the project website stated that “The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is expanding further into Stratford, opening a new station in 2010″.
The status update page in Dec 2007 showed:
It was still showing Mid 2010 as the opening date in June 2009.
At some point in 2010 though, the launch deadline started to change. Even as close to the presumed deadline as April 2010, they still expected to open the line on time. But the opening date kept slipping. Earlier this year, they were talking about opening the line in Late Spring. The current status page shows Summer 2011.
What has been frustrating for transport watchers has been the total silence from the DLR as to what is going on, and the causes of the delay – reputedly due to a contractor going bust and people constantly stealing the cables needed for the signalling.
You may however expect a blast of positive publicity next week about how the line is opening a whole year before the Olympics, which is wonderful – and no comments about how it was supposed to open two years before the Olympics, which would be less wonderful.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the TfL journey planner for some months now to see if a direct Canning Town to Stratford International route would appear, and although usually it suggests an 18 minute trip via Jubilee Line to Stratford followed by the little transit bus to the International Station, just occasionally the journey planner sends me over to Euston in the middle of the week to catch an overland train to Stratford – which takes over 50 minutes.