MAYOR of London, Mr Sadiq Khan, and London’s transport commissioner, Mr Andy Lord, have visited the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) depot at Beckton to view the first of 54 new automated trains for Britain’s busiest light rail network.

Transport for London (TfL) awarded CAF a contract to supply the new five-car trains in June 2019, with the first 33 trains intended to replace the DLR’s older rolling stock which is now more than 30 years old. The remainder will be required to boost the capacity, frequency and reliability of the network.

The initial order for 43 trains was subsequently increased by a further 11, funded by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities after TfL secured an allocation from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund in light of plans to build of thousands of new homes in the Docklands area of east London.

A new DLR train undergoing testing before delivery to Britain, and painted in the new blue and grey livery. Photo credit: Transport for London

As well as sporting a new light blue and grey livery in contrast to the DLR’s older dark blue and red, and new light and dark blue seat moquette, the new trains have open gangways aimed at boosting capacity on each train by 10%.

The trains also feature audio and visual real-time passenger information systems, air-conditioning and mobile device charging points, as well as better facilities for passengers with reduced mobility. These include three dedicated wheelchair spaces and three multi-use areas which can also be used to accommodate pushchairs, bicycles or luggage.

An interior view of one of the new trains, showing the wheelchair area and new moquette seating pattern, called 'Poplar'. Photo credit: TfL

The new trains are due to enter service in 2024. Testing will at first take place during overnight line closures, but later this year test rains will run in the daytime during gaps in the normal service.

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