Pontoon Dock DLR station, on the Woolwich to Canning Town branch, could get a major upgrade with six new escalators to cope with surging passenger numbers.

TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

The station, situated next to the Thames Barrier park, opened in December 2005 on a very high viaduct. The station has two lifts, one per platform, and four long staircases, two at either end of each platform. Due to the hight of the DLR platforms above street level, the lifts get a lot of use by people avoiding the long trek up the stairs.

There’s also, as it now turns out, a particularly useful middle deck that links the main staircases and lifts and allows people to swap between platforms without going all the way to ground level. It’s also where the ticket machines can be found.

Middle floor half way up stairs (c) ianVisits

When built, the station was in a very low populated area, but properties have been built all along the southern side of the DLR, and after a long gestation, a huge property development is going up on the north side next to the Millennium Mills.

The station’s lifts are already heavily used by people avoiding the long climb up the stairs and would not likely cope with future demand, so TfL is now showing off plans for a substantial upgrade of the station.

The existing middle deck would be extended a bit, which would create space for two escalators to be added to the space linking it to the street. From that middle floor level, there would then be four more escalators taking passengers up to the platforms — with two escalators per platform.

TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

The existing stairs and lift will remain in situ, although the lifts will be upgrades and also remove the middle-deck interchange so that they can be faster from the street to the platforms.

As a new street crossing is planned between the station and the new housing development, they will also open up the street layout of the station, which is very much aligned to the south and west, and not that pedestrian friendly to the north or east at the moment. More cycle parking will be added next to the station, which will tie in neatly with the ongoing upgrade of cycle lanes along North Woolwich Road.

Oh, and a retail unit will be added, which will almost certainly be a coffee outlet.

TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

Assuming the funding is found, then the public engagement will continue for a few months, and if favourable, then an initial tranche of funding would need to be secured to cover the cost of taking the scheme to detailed design work and planning approval.

Construction could start late next year and take about until around the middle of 2027 to complete.

All of that is subject to funding though — which is expected to be a mix of local developer contributions, GLA funding and TfL — and whatever other barrel they can scrape for money to build it.

The plans will be shown off at the DLR station tomorrow (Friday 26th January from 8am to 11am), and there’s a feedback survey here.

The plans are by Mott MacDonald along with Weston Williamson + Partners.

Everyone loves a scale model of a railway – TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

Western Approach – TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

Station Square – TfL / Mott MacDonald / WW+P

Current appearance (c) ianVisits


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  1. David says:

    Thanks Ian for the article. I have often wondered why the middle deck was originally built – there’s no real reason anyone would want to change platforms half way down this line, and it doesn’t connect to anything. It feels like a luxury to have added it (with mezzanine stops on the lifts too) for what was then a rather remote station; after all other stations just put their ticketing at ground level. My best guess was that there must have been never-implemented plans at one time to make an above-ground direct connection to the Thames Barrier Park from the mezzanine, or even across the road to the future Millennium Mills development. But maybe what we’re seeing proposed here was something loosely envisaged for that little-used middle level from the outset, if or when the station became busy.

  2. Philip says:

    There used to be a walkway from the middle deck, directly into the park. It was demolished to make way for the new housing that was built on what used to be a car park.

  3. Andy Elms says:

    Having been part of the Consulting Engineers that designed the viaduct and station twenty-odd years ago, this makes me very proud. I’ve loved the “Build it and they will come” attitude of extending the DLR into less developed areas as a way of encouraging investment.

    We left options for a station at Oriental Road too, if the developments continue

    • Nathan says:

      Really interesting – do you know if there is any passive provision in the structure at all at Oriental Road (assuming it’s the straight part next to the Shurgard) or is it just in the alignment? I had heard there once plans also for a underground station between Woolwich and King George V, which would be very handy but much harder to add now.

    • ianVisits says:

      Oriental Road was ruled out as a possible site in the DLR Horizon 2020 report.

    • Leon says:

      Hi Andy, I’ve often wondered why the station is built so high above ground? I believe it is the highest elevated station on the network too.

  4. Mark Adamson says:

    Will they have ticket machines on the ground floor for accessibility, given the lift is losing the middle floor?

  5. End Zone says:

    Surely funding from developers – you want to build contribute to some infrastructure

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