Probably the very best thing about living in London is sitting at the front of a driverless DLR train and pretending to be the driver.

However, during the pandemic, Londoners have been deprived of that pleasure as the area was sealed off to ensure that the Passenger Service Agents could have a safe space to operate the doors, provide messages, and occasionally drive the trains.

Now though, exciting times as the barriers are coming down, and we can once again enjoy the unadulterated joy of sitting in the front of the DLR trains and “driving” them along the railway.

Currently, it’s only off-peak during the week, and at weekends at the moment, as passenger numbers are rising during the rush hour so the staff need to have a secure space to work from again. But there’s certainly a sense of the world returning to normal to see the pandemic barriers removed and the train attendant wandering through the trains again.

What better excuse do you need to get down to the DLR, grab that front seat once more and savour the delights of being a train driver.

Tom Page, TfL’s General Manager for DLR, said: “We know how much our customers, especially children, enjoy riding on the front seats of a DLR and we are looking at ways we can reopen these as normal. We are currently trialling making these seats available during the off peak on weekdays and, should this trial be successful, we will look at next steps to make them available for customers at all times.”

TfL also confirmed that the change was made after consultations with the DLR operator, Keolis Amey Docklands, trade unions, and the Health & Safety colleagues to ensure any restrictions can be lifted safely for both its staff and customers and is in line with current national guidance.

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7 comments
  1. John Simmons says:

    I did that very thing both ways between Stratford and Woolwich Arsenal on Saturday on my way to /from Plumstead Garage’s 40th Birthday celebrations!

  2. John W says:

    Nice news item, thanks. Perhaps pretend steering wheels and a bell could be added for the passengers at the front, similar to fun fair train rides.

    • Peter Jansen says:

      Yes, please! If only there were self-driving prams, too — then one could travel in REAL style, shaking a rattle and sucking a dummy!

    • Ian says:

      The Copenhagen metro has an instrument panel “painted” on the ledge at the front

  3. John Watkins says:

    Used to do the same with the old (1950’s/1960’s) DMUs, which had glass panels between the driver and the passenger cabin – unless the driver pulled the blinds down.

    First modern ones I came across were on the Tyne and Wear metro.

  4. matthew Horton says:

    Absolutely my favorite bit of riding the DLR, pretending to drive. And I am 57. Also like the large ramps up and down, a bit like a theme park ride.

  5. Hugh Jones says:

    A few years ago i was travelling on a pull-push set in Germany. The loco was on the rear and you could walk through the train to the front where there was a large cycle storage area. There was windows through to the drivers cab and as i looked through the driver invited me inside! We were doing a steady 160 KM per hour. It was interesting to see cars crossing the track in the distance before the barriers went down on our approach. We then slowed down the cross the impressive Rendsburg across the Kiel Canal and i was asked to vacate my seat next to the driver as we were approaching a station

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