TfL has secured funding to carry out more work on plans to extend the DLR from Beckton to Thamesmead.

The current proposals are for a new station be built in Beckton, with a bridge over (or tunnel under) the Thames to a new station in Thamesmead. Both sites are subject to lots of new housing being built, or planned, and the DLR extension was included in TfL’s latest financial plans.

If the DLR extension is built, then it’s provisionally expected to be able to offer 15 trains per hour – roughly one every four minutes. Although construction work is a long way from being funded, TfL has secured £1 million for feasibility work on the line so that they can clarify the likely route and any problems.

Providing new public transport options is expected to be able to support the delivery of more than 25,000 new homes along the route as well as improve connectivity across the river. The decision to progress this work comes as the Mayor of London signed the creation of the new Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF), which sets out a vision to deliver more than 15,000 new homes and around 8,000 jobs in the area south of the river.

The framework also supports growth aspirations north of the river at Beckton Riverside, where there is further potential for new homes and jobs in the coming years.

This next stage of technical work will allow further development of the route and the potential locations of stations to be considered. Support work on other transport options within the OAPF will also be carried out including options for a rapid bus corridor and new walking and cycling links. The suggested route for the bus lane would also benefit housing developments recently approved next to the roundabout in Plumstead, where it’s expected a lot of residents will want to catch the Elizabeth line at Woolwich.

The £1m joint funding agreement for the feasibility study is between the Newham and Greenwich councils, developers Thamesmead Waterfront, Aberdeen Standard Investments and St William.

Although not part of this feasibility study, the OAPF leaves open the possibility of extending the DLR further through Thamesmead towards Belvedere, and also on the north side of the river up towards Barking.

The OAPF also investigated the potential of extending the London Overground from Barking Riverside across the Thames to Abbey Wood, although this is not a preferred option as it would cost significantly more to build and operate, and would result in fewer trains per hour due to capacity constraints further up the line than the DLR option could deliver.

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21 comments
  1. David says:

    Still need a bridge as well so that goods as well as people can be moved.

    • ianvisits says:

      A road bridge can’t be built in that location as it would put a huge amount of road traffic in the middle of a residential housing estate.

  2. John Watkins says:

    Should we be building on the riverside given climate change and rising sea levels?

  3. D says:

    Is it not possible to divide a new Overground service from Plumstead to follow the elevated sewer deeper into the Thamesmead area?

    • ianvisits says:

      A very vocal local lobby group would strongly object — as would likely the sewer underneath that was never designed to take the weight of a railway.

  4. D says:

    Is it not possible/considered that extending the rail from Plumstead along the sewer into Thamesmead could be a viable overground/rail route.

  5. MiaM says:

    Not planning a triangle junction at Beckton seems like a mistake.

    Sure, peak hours there would be plenty of trains for both the Beckton and Thamesmead legs, but in the quiter hours the frequency will suffer. It would likely be worth the extra journey time for Thamesmead if the off-peak trains go Thamesmead-Beckton-Gallions Reach (and onwards), giving a slightly slower journey but doubled frequency.

    Also, what about a possible extension onwards? Looking at aerial photos of the area gives me the impression that a station at Thamesmead, angled as in the drawing above, would kind of paint the DLR in in a corner.

    • ianvisits says:

      As the conclusions of the £1 million study haven’t been published yet, how can you know they’ve ruled out a triangle junction at Beckton?

    • MiaM says:

      I just assumed that there were some kind of correlation between the map and what the feasibility work is supposed to do…

    • ianvisits says:

      The scale of the diagram is far too low a resolution to be making that sort of detailed comment though.

  6. Ryan says:

    This should already include the Belvedere extension mentioned in the OAPF and connect to North Kent Line/Crossrail in the future.
    (given that getting it to Abbey Wood is deemed to be too expensive)

  7. Ray Murray says:

    For a good 50 years Thamesmead has been deprived of suitable transport. Ringway 2/the South Circular Road never happened, and the Jubilee line also did not happen – instead they sent it to Stratford because it was cheaper. Thamesmead was supposed to have a population of 100,000, but only managed half of that, and a major town centre with water features did not happen. Neither did the boating marina on the Thames itself.

  8. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Be good if it does get the go ahead with a new tunnel to be built underneath the River Thames or a bridge over the River Thames. Plus there were plans to extend the DLR to Dagenham Dock that would have a DLR station right next door to the London Overground station at Barking Riverside.

  9. Ryan says:

    A Thamesmead to Stratford International service pattern would slot very nicely into the ‘missing’ paths via Star Lane, and offer a swath of faster onward connections at Canning Town, West Ham, and Stratford.

  10. Henry Allum says:

    There was once talk of extending the DLR to Dagenham Dock. What’s the latest on that? There were also plans to extend South to Forest Hill, nothing seems to have happened with that one to.

    • ianvisits says:

      The Dagenham Dock extension was cancelled a decade back — as for Forest Hill, never heard of any such plans for the DLR to go there.

  11. Phil says:

    Of course it needs a road connection!

    The website author needs to remember the findings of numerous studies over the years indicating the lack of LOCAL road crossings (which are particularly important for tradespeople and home deliveries – the world cannot exist solely on IT jobs you know) is a key factor in constraining growth of riverside communities.

    The DLR is fine for people – not so good for Amazon parcels or carry a plumber, decorator, food supplies about!

    Moreover by doing things like adding tolls for private motorists and HGVs, restricting road space for general traffic to a single lane, using at grade junctions on the approaches you can easily make it an unattractive option for long distance traffic while retaining that essential local connectivity which is provided by the bridges on the west side of London.

    So yes the DLR might well be a welcome addition to Thamesmead, but it is in no way a substitute to a reliable 24/7 LOCAL road connection across the river.

    • ianvisits says:

      Road vehicles can already get across the river by the nearby Woolwich ferry.

      The problem with a bridge is that as the ferry is slow and a bridge would be fast, it would suck away all the heavy fright traffic from the ferry to the bridge — and as I noted earlier, then dump an awful lot of heavy road traffic in the middle of a residential estate.

      A bad idea.

    • LBE97 says:

      Ian, where are these residential areas that would be impacted by a road crossing at this location? The houses in Beckton that might be affected are well set back from the main road, such as Windsor Park Estate. The Thamesmead area is similar, especially as the Riverside development is barely in the planning stages. The only built-up area that might impacted by a road crossing is Plumstead Road and Beresford Street, and even there the roads are wide

      A road crossing should be built in addition to the DLR to relieve the Blackwall Tunnel and to provide better access for freight vehicles. The cross-river bus connections could be improved if this is done so it’s not anti-public transit at all.

      Then you could scrap the Silvertown Tunnel, which is in totally the wrong location and provide a more reliable alternative to the Woolwich Ferry. It could even be closed with the boats sold on, maybe?

  12. MPW says:

    Having read so much about the potential of tram-trains lately, I wonder if that might be a better option here rather than extending the DLR further. A tram-train could then run along existing tracks once it reaches Abbey Wood. My non-expert understanding is that this area is not constrained, and there is spare capacity to go quite far in either direction, even as far as Dartford in east and Deptford in west? Can be called the Dford line. A tram could then also help connect the Greenwich Peninsula and north of the river run up to Barking.

    I know this is all a much grander project than the scale of what is being considered here, but of course this can all be done piecemeal with just the river crossing and Crossrail connection at first, then future connections done with respective business cases. Seems like committing to DLR network removes a lot of future possibilities.

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