Major network boost for the Docklands Light Railway this May

The extension of peak times and increased train frequencies will be introduced across East London’s DLR to reduce waiting times and overcrowding

A major boost to the frequency of DLR services is set to be introduced later this month, Transport for London (TfL) has revealed.

From Monday May 15, timetable changes will come in across the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), to bring more services to all routes, especially at peak times.

TfL said the increased services will help to reduce waiting times and overcrowding on platforms, as well as providing better connections with the Elizabeth line at Canary Wharf, Custom House and Stratford.

Tom Page, TfL’s General Manager for the DLR, said the changes will bring “quicker, easier and more comfortable journeys” for passengers.

The most significant change will see peak service levels running half an hour longer on all DLR routes in both morning and evening peak times. The morning peak service will end at 10am instead of 9.30am, and the evening peak service will end at 7.30pm instead of 7pm – meaning that there will be a higher frequency of trains for a longer period of time at both the start and end of the working day.

Direct services between Stratford and Lewisham during the evening peak period will be introduced for the first time. This means a service every two to four minutes between Canary Wharf and Lewisham instead of every four minutes, and direct services between Stratford and Lewisham – without changing trains at Canary Wharf – every eight minutes.

Frequencies between Canning Town and Beckton on Monday-Saturday evenings will be doubled. Currently, trains on this route run every five minutes until 7.30pm on those days, after which time they drop down to every ten minutes. The new timetable will extend the every-five-minutes frequency to last until 11.30pm on weekdays and until 10pm on Saturdays.

Frequencies will also be doubled between Stratford and Canary Wharf on Saturday evenings. Trains will be every five minutes – rather than every 10 – until 10pm rather than until 7.30pm.

Mr Page, of TfL, said: “It’s an exciting time for DLR as we continue to see strong ridership and have now begun testing of the new trains that will transform journeys for millions of customers every year.

“This latest timetable change builds on last September’s changes to help ensure we have capacity where it’s needed the most.”

New walk-through, air-conditioned DLR trains – complete with USB charging points and a new colour scheme – are currently being tested on the network and are due to enter service from 2024.

Seb Dance, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport said: “After some incredibly challenging years, ridership on the Tube and DLR is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, and I am pleased that changes coming in to the DLR timetable in May will mean people travelling around east London will now benefit from additional services and quicker, easier, more frequent journeys.

“With the entire DLR fleet also being updated over the coming years, this is just one of the ways the Mayor and TfL are continuing to improve London’s world-class public transport network, which is key to building a better, more efficient London for everyone.”

Plans are currently being progressed to extend the DLR out to Thamesmead – one of London’s most isolated neighbourhoods, as the area has no Tube, National Rail, Overground or DLR services.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that a planning application for the project will hopefully be submitted by 2026.

The scheme would see a new DLR branch split off from the existing route near Gallions Reach, with a new station created at Beckton Riverside.

A new tunnel would then be dug under the Thames to carry the line to Thamesmead – which, if built, would have a claim to be the most easterly Thames crossing in Greater London.

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