The Docklands Light Railway is seeking permission to expand its Beckton depot ahead of the arrival of a fleet of new trains due in a few years time.
The Beckton depot was opened in 1994 and was extended southwards and to the northwest at various times up to 2008. At the moment, it can store 29 trains, but needs to expand that to 39 to cope with increased demand on the line.
TfL is ordering the new fleet of trains, to both increase capacity, and replace older trains, and they will start to arrive from 2022, with the first going into service in 2024.
To store the extra trains, a planning application has been filed that’ll see an expanded maintenance shed build and tracks in the depot realigned to fit more trains into the space.
TfL already owns the land it wants to expand into, and the application notes that they don’t actually need permission to realign the railway tracks, but as they do need it for the new shed, they are filing a full application anyway.
The Beckton Depot site has an area of approximately 9.1 hectares (ha) and is located within an area of land in DLR’s ownership of about 11.3 ha. The Beckton Depot proposed modification works will alter the depot to occupy the full area of land within DLR ownership.
The proposed works also include the relocation and elongation of the test track as well as a the demolition of the existing train wash facility and construction of a new facility in the northwest corner of the depot site.
The first train is expected in 2022 for final testing with all new trains expected to be in passenger service by 2024. The depot modifications would need to be completed before the first train arrives;
The planning application also notes that they don’t need to increase staff space on the site, or adjust for more staff arriving each day, as the new rolling stock will need less maintenance and the walk-through trains will be more efficient to clean.
At some point in the future, the smaller Poplar depot will also be rebuilt, but that’s mainly because they plan to build some blocks of flats above the site while keeping the trains below.
All images from the planning application