Docklands Light Railway

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Docklands Light Railway

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The Docklands Light Railway is a light rail public transport metro serving the redeveloped Docklands area of east London, England. The DLR is separate from the London Underground, with separate tracks and rolling stock.

All the trains are computer-controlled and have no driver: a passenger service agent (PSA) on each train is responsible for patrolling the train, checking tickets, making announcements, and controlling the doors. PSAs can also take control of the train in case of computer failure or emergency.

The DLR is operated by high-floor, bi-directional, single-articulated cars with four doors on each side, with each train composed of two cars. The cars have no driverís cab, although there is a small driverís console concealed behind a locked panel at each car end from which the PSA can drive the car in an emergency. Other consoles at each door opening allow the PSA to control door closure and make announcements whilst patrolling the train. Because of the absence of a driverís position, the fully glazed car ends provide an excellent forward (or rear) view for passengers.

The DLR was conceived in the late 1980s by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to aid the regeneration of the docks of East London, which had been derelict since the 1960s. As originally conceived, the system was to be entirely above ground and consist of three branches, with their termini at Tower Gateway, Stratford, and Island Gardens. The early plan was an underground line with connections from Charing Cross to Woolwich Arsenal via Fenchurch Street, Surrey Docks, Isle of Dogs, North Greenwich and Custom House. However things changed when the Conservative Government took office on 4th May 1979. They ordered the study into feasible light rail options, resulting in the birth of the DLR.

The initial idea was to use modern tram-derived light rail vehicles, with overhead current collection, manual driving, and some street running. The LDDC, however, wanted to showcase cutting-edge technology and disliked overhead wires, and so chose an automatically-driven system with third-rail current collection, but still using tram-derived vehicles. Most of the track was elevated, either on new lightweight concrete viaducts or on disused railway viaducts, with some use of disused surface-level railway right of way. The system was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 31 July 1987, with passenger service starting a month later, on 31 August.

Stations on west to east branches
Bank for Central London
Tower Gateway for The Tower of London
East India
Canning Town
Royal Victoria
Custom House
Prince Regent
Royal Albert
Beckton Park
Gallions Reach


Stations on north to south branches
Pudding Mill Lane
Bow Church
Devons Road
All Saints
West India Quay
Canary Wharf
Heron Quays
South Quay
Crossharbour and London Arena
Island Gardens
Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich
Deptford Bridge
Elverson Road


Stations on London City Airport branch

Canning Town
West Silvertown
Pontoon Dock
London City Airport

: King George V

Future Terminus: Woolwich Arsenal (to be opened in 2009)

Index of London pages

Docklands Light Railway map

Experience another ride on the Docklands Light Railway

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Be a little patient!
If you are on dial-up connection, it may take a while to load.

This video was taken with the A $200 camera designed mainly for still photography,
it will take a 30 minute 30 frames/second video with sound
if you have the 1 Gig memory card.

See another video of the London Underground