Transport for London (TfL) has finally awarded a contract to replace the oldest of its DLR trains, although the contract had been due to be awarded last year.

TfL first announced its intention to replace its older trains in May 2015 when it sought design ideas. The confirmation that they would go ahead with ordering new trains was made in March 2017, with the intention to award the contract by summer 2018, and delivery 3-years later, in summer 2021.

Four companies were pre-qualified for the contract – Alstom Transport, Bombardier Transportation, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles and a consortium, consisting of Siemens , Stadler Bussang and Stadler Rail Valencia.

Following a review, the contract, for 43 trains has been awarded to Spain’s  Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), who are basing the new trains on its Metro vehicle.

However, the new trains are now not expected to start being delivered until 2023.

In total 33 of the trains will be replacing older models, while ten trains are needed to boost capacity due to increasing demand, particularly along the Royal Docks routes.

The plans also allow for a further 6 trains to support increased demand on the Stratford to Lewisham line, and an option should a mooted extension to Thamesmead get the go-ahead.

The main difference with the news trains is that instead of fleets of 2 or 3 cars, these will be similar to the modern trains, with a fully walk-through design, although 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.

They will also feature on-board real- time information, air-conditioning and mobile device charging points for the first time. The extra trains takes the total capacity increase to 30 percent for the DLR network.

There are also related plans to expand the Beckton depot to handle the additional trains.

…It’s normally deadly to read too much into computer renders of things that haven’t been built yet – but issuing an image of the new train in a mock-up of Canada Water’s northbound overground platform is just asking for trouble.


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  1. Andrew says:

    The trains look like sardine tins to me..

  2. Herned says:

    I don’t understand about the doors. Current trains have 2 doors per car, so 12 per side. From the render there will still be 2 doors per car but only 5 cars there will be a reduction?

    • ianvisits says:

      I refer you to my last paragraph about reading too much into computer renders of things that haven’t been built yet.

  3. Herned says:

    Fair point… the number of doors is quite a big thing to get wrong though!

  4. John Thomas says:

    I understand the bidding process but how about use a british company, perhaps bombardier didnt push hard enough.

    Hopefully not buy cheap pay twice

  5. A says:

    The platform in the picture is far too well lit to be one of the Overground platforms at Canada Water…

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