The Docklands Light Railway recently covered up one of their bridges in a load of scaffolding and protective wrapping – which prompted me to send them a message asking a fairly specific, but quite simple question.

Will the drain be diverted?

The what?

As can be seen here, the bridge passes over a road, and a pavement near Canary Wharf, and a rain water drain that emerges over the road is sensibly diverted sideways to empty its contents directly into the dock.

DLR drainpipe

But the drain is located just a couple of feet into the dock. This works very well, when there is no wind. However, the UK is windy – and the docklands seemingly even more so. The result is that the drain often deposits its contents all over the pavement, typically making half of it dry and the other half akin to walking through a small rainstorm.

As a certain other blogger might have said – installed by cretins.

Wouldn’t it be good to fix that – by simply expedient of moving the drain pipe a couple of feet further into the docks?

As can be seen here, all it would need is for the pipe to be extended, and a supporting hook added to the next girder – or a hook bolted into the concrete above. Very simple, very cheap.

DLR drainpipe

So, the bridge is covered in scaffolding, seems that I should fill in the webform on their website and ask if they are moving the drainpipe while whatever it is they are doing is going on.

Either they are planning to move the pipe, and I can say nice things about them, or they aren’t planning to move it, but my message suggests it would be a good idea and they decide to move it anyway – so still good news.

A couple of weeks later, and the scaffolding is starting to come down. No reply from the DLR.

Go back to website on 9th July… ahh, there’s an email address as well – so I chase up the webform message.

Get a reply – asking me to give them until 18th July to reply.

Around the 16th, the scaffolding is completely removed, and it is clear that the drain pipe has not been moved. Got a reply, on the 27th July. Unsurprisingly, they state that they wont be moving the drain pipe.

I am still waiting for a reply to my question as to why my webform message was ignored.



Here is the issue.

Firstly, webform messages seem to be vanishing into a black hole somewhere.

Secondly, when an email is received, they want a week to reply to a fairly simple question, and then took nearly two weeks to reply.

Thirdly, the reply was blunt almost to the point of rudeness and in no way offered any sort of “human” interaction about the issue being raised. They actually called it a complaint, when in fact it was more of a friendly suggestion.

So we still have a the drainpipe of doom drenching disgorging its contents over the pavement, all for want of maybe £10 of plastic pipe and a metal clamp, oh, and a bit of common-sense at DLR customer care to respond to a suggestion about how to improve things.

Talking of improving things though – they have replaced the dark blue bridge with this rather garish monstrosity paint job that makes the bridge stand out in a really quite uncomfortable manner considering its surroundings.

All that effort to paint a bridge, but they couldn’t spend 20 minutes extending a drain pipe.


Garish paint design on DLR bridge


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  1. Frank Bath says:

    I haven’t seen this and I use Heron Quay every day. Nor am I sure you can drain water this way. Perhaps this is something for Canary Wharf to sort out.

    Can I add there’s another drainage problem at Heron Quay? Rain water fills the final landing of the stairs leading down from the platform of the bound for Bank side. It gets un-negotiable for want of a hole drilled. Been like if for years.

    • IanVisits says:

      If you are using the station, it is highly unlikely you would use that part of pavement though.

      As someone who walks past the station most days though, after it has been raining, it is almost worth walking in the road to avoid.

  2. Samuel Finch says:

    It goes to show they only offer the webform to tick the box. They are not really interested in constructive suggestions.

  3. Lisa Pattenden says:

    Ian, they have a Facebook page, well their marketing people do. They tend to respond pretty quickly there. Maybe try that? Posting pics? (They allow pics because they are currently having a contest!) I hope this helps. Sometimes taking unusual steps get unusual results. 😉 I hope they fix it, it’s ridiculous to paint but not spend a few quid to extend that pipe.

  4. rjp says:

    At least it’s better than the drain between South Quay and Heron Quays which drips water directly onto the pavement at the side of the Hilton. On a rainy day, it’s like a localised little storm of its own.

  5. John says:

    Same problem I’ve had with London Overground webform… Get an email after about 10 days saying they need a few weeks to respond. Then never hear anything…

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