TfL has an order for a fleet of new DLR trains to replace over half of its older trains and expand the size of the fleet, and the first images of the new trains have been released.

(note to the wise, this is a mock-up, so don’t freak out about the colour or something)

CAF video preview

Internally, the trains retain a familiar DLR look, although with a lot more fold-up seats replacing the long banks of seats the DLR trains currently come with. The switch will create more space in rush hours, if people can be persuaded not to fold down the seats to sit on them, along with more flexible space for wheelchairs and bikes.

CAF video preview

One big change is that while there are still front facing seats so people can pretend to drive the train — a vital requirement — the seats immediately behind them wont be forward facing as well, so losing a little bit of the fun.

CAF video preview

The occassional drivers will doubtless appreciate the pull-out barrier to stop people trying to sit next to them.

The other main difference between the older and newer trains is that instead of fleets of 3 cars with 6 segments, these will be fully walk-through from end to end. CAF says that technically they will be 5-car trains, so we can expect each segment to be a bit longer than the current 6-segment trains.

Currently, around 20% of the length of a DLR train is doors, while the average for most metro-grade services is 30% for doors. The design change to fully walk-through carriages also releases more space for doors, so that people can get on and off faster.

The redesigned trains should be able to carry about 10 percent more passengers than the current trains. The redesigned interior along with the additional trains should increase carrying capacity on the DLR by 30%.

Although details could change, the current plans for the new trains are:

  • To replace Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal 2-car services with new full-length trains and improve peak service from a train every 8 minutes to one every 4 minutes.
  • Replace the Bank to Woolwich Arsenal and Bank to Lewisham 3-car services with new trains.
  • Introduce a new peak Stratford International to Beckton service with 3-car trains.
  • Replace all Stratford to Canary Wharf 2-car services with new full-length trains and extend all these services (i.e. every 4 minutes) to Lewisham.

The result of this on the Lewisham branch there will be a 65% increase in peak capacity compared to today, through a combination of making all trains full length, the higher capacity of the new trains, and the increase in total frequency from today’s 22.5 trains per hour to 30 trains per hour (every 2 minutes). TfL will also double the capacity to Beckton, nearly double capacity to Woolwich, and between Stratford and Canary Wharf by 65%.

The new trains will also feature on-board real- time information, air-conditioning and USB mobile device charging points for the first time. The USB sockets are the standard 5V USB sockets, but the wiring behind them allows for a later upgrade to the much fast charger standard USB-PD, when a railway approved supplier becomes available.

There are also what look to be video advertising screens on the new trains.

CAF video preview

The contract for the new trains was awarded to Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) in June 2019, and the first trains should start to arrive from 2023 for testing, with the first going into service in 2024.

Funding for an 14 additonal trains was included in the government’s budget in November 2018.

Personal observation – with more people expected to stand, the grip poles should be London Overground style doubles so that more people can hold on to them


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  1. JoMo says:

    Not a fan of fold up seats. Once seated on them, people never stand and fold them up as the train gets busier. Honestly, I’ve commuted on mainline trains for years and when the seats are full, people will sit on the floor, even with lots of people standing around them. With most stations above ground, how difficult/expensive would it be to further extend platforms on the busiest DLR routes?

    • ianvisits says:

      The seats are hinged to automatically fold up – just as on the Northern line trains.

      To extend the platforms — hugely expensive.

    • JoMo says:

      I understand they automatically fold up, but they aren’t locked in place, so people will just fold them down and sit even when busy, as people do on the Northern line.

    • ChrisC says:

      very difficult to extend platforms even if money was no oject – there if geography to consider plus the layout of existing buildings and also how the existing track is supported in terms of columns etc

      IIRC it was hard enough to extend some of the existing stations during the last platform project let alone makien some even longer

  2. Jag says:

    We want more trains, running more often. To stop the Canning Town and Royal Victoria congestion. The volume of construction that NewHam Council are taking on with little regard to the infrastructure and the quality of local life (retail etc.), is shocking.

  3. A says:

    I hope the longer train segments can still turn the tight turns…

  4. DA says:

    It looks like the design in terms of doors and windows is Dual windows – doors – dual windows – doors – dual windows. So like some national rail trains. Hopefully this means people will use all the door when boarding. I also wonder what selective doors oprearion will be like at some stations and hope less doors will be locked shut but we will see. 3 years left to wait.

  5. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Are they to replace the B90/B92/B2K rolling stocks. And DLR to retain the B07/B09 rolling stocks. Could CAF also manufacture new London Underground tube stocks to replace the Bakerloo Line 1972 Stock, Piccadilly Line 1973 Stock and the 1992 Stocks on the Central Line and Waterloo & City Line.

    • ASLEF shrugged says:

      The contract for new Piccadilly Line trains was awarded to Siemens in November 2018 (delivery from 2023) with the option to provide the same trains for the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      @ASLEF shrugged. If that’s the case for Siemens to manufacture new tube stocks for the Bakerloo Line, Central Line and Waterloo & City Line then good luck to Siemens. I think Siemens Inspiro is the future for the new London Underground tube stocks on those 4 deep level tube lines.

  6. Stefania says:

    Honestly i would have waited for the end of Covid19 to buy these, and now cared only to introduce Oyster card readers to allow to forgetful, elderlies and ppl in MH conditions to keep track of their action/missed action, without all the anxiety that generates to them

    • Julian says:

      The contract to build the new trains was awarded in June 2019, some months before covid-19 was discovered.

      Train construction, especially to a new design, takes a considerable time and cannot just be turned on and off like a tap.

    • Trevor Haynes says:

      It takes a long time to design and build trains. You’ll see that these were ordered in June 2019 when nobody knew anything about Covid-19. Once ordered, it’s a lot more expensive to cancel.

    • ChrisC says:

      And there would have been a long period of pre contract signing work had had already taken place.

      From the original business case and spec for the trains to going out to tender then getting them back then post contract pre tender work

      These projects can’t be switched on and off at the drop of a hat like deciding whether to paint your lounge or nt.

  7. Chris Rogers says:

    Little point in moaning about it since tube stock has been like it for a decade or more but the reduction is overall seating coupled with an emphasis on fold-down seats is a dispiriting trend. Yes I know why it’s done but for longer distances it simply reduces the chance for a sit down. Which is why of course people who have secured a seat don’t stand up, why would they??

    • M says:

      And if you do stand up someone peers round and asks if they can squeeze in there and take the fold-up. Ah well.

  8. David Winter says:

    Seems CAF is flavour of the decade. Let’s hope they do a better job of getting it right FIRST time, unlike Bombardier.

  9. @ft4 says:

    Would these trains replace all current DLR stock?

  10. Sam Lad says:

    Hoping they’ll be more seats that are NOT facing other passengers. Much prefer the direction of travel seats even if my back is opposite. Makes for a far more enjoyable journey and you can really enjoy the views which is better than having to look through a fellow passenger sitting opposite you. The best would be a good balance of both styles. Fingers crossed

  11. Stumaloo says:

    Do the new trains solve the problem of hunting oscillation (wobbles)? I believe this is because the current ones are actually trams, to allow the wheels to take the tight bends around Canary Wharf, but the flipside is on the straights they rock about. Surely there’s a design that can do stable straights AND take corners?

  12. FG says:

    I’m so glad they’ll be upgrading them. Solely for the possibility of a more pleasant commute. I never liked the older style of the trains that looked dull and dingy. Positive news for someone who is in the process of buying a property around the Elverson Road area and will heavily rely on this route to commute anywhere!

  13. MB says:

    Great to know that we are finally updating them!

    I am not clear not the following:

    “To replace Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal 2-car services with new full-length trains and improve peak service from a train every 8 minutes to one every 4 minutes.
    Replace the Bank to Woolwich Arsenal and Bank to Lewisham 3-car services with new trains.
    Introduce a new peak Stratford International to Beckton service with 3-car trains.
    Replace all Stratford to Canary Wharf 2-car services with new full-length trains and extend all these services (i.e. every 4 minutes) to Lewisham.”

    Can anybody find the estimated new trains service frequency per minute or hour for the different routes? e.g. Bank – Lewisham, Bank – Woolwich, Stratford – Lewisham, Stratford – Woolwich and Bank – Beckton

    Also, will trains going Lewisham from Bank not stop by West India Quay as they do now? I would have though that with the introduction of Crossrail this would have changed.

    Do we have any more information on the new speed of the trains and what’s the expected reduction in journey times since it’s faster and easier to get off and on?


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