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Poplar DLR Station: A bridge between two worlds in Tower Hamlets [photoessay]

Poplar Docklands Light Railway Station has long since marked the dividing line between two halves of our borough, but this division may soon be healed.

This series of photographs were taken on a bright but crisp January afternoon, capturing moments of life at Poplar Docklands Light Railway (DLR) station.

If you were to ask any Londoner about the DLR network, you are likely to be told three things. It’s the turquoise line on the Tube map, it’s driverless and if you are sitting at the very front of the train, it feels like you are on a roller-coaster.

These are all truths. However, it is also worth knowing that the DLR network was a key component of the successful plan to redevelop the Docklands area after its decline as an industrial hub.

The new transport system was opened in 1987 and one of the busiest stations on the network is Poplar DLR. There have been three stations with the name Poplar. However, none was on the site of the current station.

When Poplar DLR was first opened it had just two platforms, but as the DLR network has expanded the station was extensively remodelled and given two additional platforms.

Today it is a cross-platform interchange station for three of the six lines on the DLR. It is also nearby the Canary Wharf station on the Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line.

In order to exit the station you can take the stairs or lift, either option will take you up to a walkway. But this is no mere connecting bridge, but a truly unique curved glass tunnel filled with space and light.

It is at this halfway point of the walkway where you can see the dividing line between the two halves of our borough.

If you walk to the right, you can make your way to Poplar High Street. If you walk to the left, you will see the glittering skyscrapers that make up the financial hub that is Canary Wharf.

One of the richest and one of the poorest areas of London lie side by side, but the reality of those on either side are worlds apart.

However, these two halves could yet be brought closer together by the construction site that can be seen from the walkway and will one day become North Quay.

The North Quay development will deliver up to 355,000 sqm of floor space and its use could include office and life science, residential, retail, community, leisure, hotel, co-living, and student accommodation.

But irrespective of what buildings make up the completed site, The Canary Wharf Group is committed to ensuring the site will include a significant public realm with open spaces, and improve north-south connectivity.

It represents a unique and vital opportunity to bridge the gap between Canary Wharf and Poplar, and to give Londoners a reason to explore both sides of the walkway. 

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One thought on “Poplar DLR Station: A bridge between two worlds in Tower Hamlets [photoessay]

  • Interesting and good read to enhance knowledge of the local area. Thanks.


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