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)
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.
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.
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.
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