A major boost to the frequency of Docklands Light Railway services will be introduced later this month, including direct trains between Stratford and Lewisham in the evenings, Transport for London has revealed.
There will be more services to all routes, especially at peak times, to help 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, the DLR’s general manager, said the changes will bring “quicker, easier and more comfortable journeys” for passengers.
Peak service levels will run half an hour longer on all DLR routes in both mornings and evening. 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.
TfL’s boost to the DLR comes in direct contrast to the service cuts which hit Southeastern Metro services last December. The Westminster government, which controls Southeastern Metro, is resisting calls to allow TfL to take over the services instead.
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Trains currently run every four minutes in the evenings between Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Lewisham, but will now be up to every two minutes. The Stratford to Lewisham trains will run every eight minutes. There are already direct trains between Lewisham and Stratford in the morning rush hour.
Frequencies between Canning Town and Beckton on Monday to Saturday evenings will be doubled to every five minutes 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 until 10pm rather than until 7.30pm.
Page 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 from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead. Work could start in 2028 and take five years to complete. Both Greenwich and Newham councils have signed off a request for the Westminster government to help pay between £4 million and £6 million for early work on the project, which would help the development of up to 30,000 new homes in both Beckton and Thamesmead.
Additional reporting by Darryl Chamberlain
Noah Vickers is the Local Democracy Reporter for the Greater London Authority, based at the Evening Standard. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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