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Docklands Light Railway

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Docklands Light Railway train at Crossharbour/London Arena. Photo by Bernard Chatreau, August 2006.

Contents

Overview

The Docklands Light Rail is a fairly unusual light rail system compared to others worldwide. It is fully automated, with no drivers. Current collection is third-rail, therefore the right of way is fully segregated. The right of way is partly old railway ROW, partly in new tunnel and partly elevated.

Stations have high platforms providing level access from platform to car. The cars are double-ended single-articulated cars with no drivers cab and a full width railfan window at each end. They usually run in coupled pairs. There is a small driver's console concealed behind a locked panel at the railfan seat.

Despite being high-platform and highly automated, the cars are derived from German streetcar design. The first order of cars was not designed with underground operation in mind (the initial system had no tunnels) and had to be retired; they were bought by Essen in Germany, were fitted with cabs and pantographs and now operate in-street in that city.

Most platforms are accessed by stair and elevator; a few stations have escalators. Stations are (apart from the underground ones) unmanned; tickets are sold from ticket machines. Fare collection is based on the honour system, with tickets inspected by a 'Train Captain' who patrols the train and also controls door closure (from whichever door is nearest to where he happens to be). If need be, (s)he can (and is trained to) drive the train at limited speed manually using the hidden controls at the car ends.

The system is quite complex. There are five terminals (Bank, Tower Gateway, Lewisham, Beckton and Stratford) with several interlocking services. The line largely serves the rejuvenated docklands area, which is rapidly becoming the center of London's financial industry. One area (Canary Wharf, the tallest building in the United Kingdom) was planned by the same architects as the World Financial Center in New York (and looks it).

At first the system was a bit derided as under-spec'ed for the amount of traffic, but with subsequent platform and train lengthening, more routes and the addition of a separate Jubilee line tube line to Canary Wharf it now seems to be very successful. A new extension has just been approved to serve London City Airport.

Transfer between tube and DLR, and mainline rail and DLR, is pretty good in most places they coincide. At Bank, DLR runs into the underground tube station; at Stratford the DLR runs into a surface station shared with two tube lines and two mainline rail lines; at Canning Town the DLR platforms are elevated immediately above the (surface) Jubilee tube lines; at Lewisham the DLR station is just outside the mainline station. Ironically the one place transfer isn't good is Canary Wharf, which has a pretty monumental elevated DLR station and a truly amazingly monumental underground tube station, but several hundred yards apart.

Photo Gallery


Image 10434
(156k, 1044x788)
Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: Poplar

Image 10444
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Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: West India Quay

Image 23694
(216k, 1044x788)
Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: Beckton Park

Image 23719
(184k, 1044x788)
Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: Greenwich

Image 23731
(169k, 1044x788)
Photo by: David Pirmann
Location: Mudchute

Image 88420
(102k, 820x542)
Photo by: Theo Neutelings

Image 95371
(77k, 640x480)
Photo by: Oren H.
Location: Bank

Image 120646
(224k, 1044x787)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Tower Gateway

Image 120651
(245k, 1044x788)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Limehouse

Image 120652
(237k, 1044x788)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Langdon Park

Image 120666
(176k, 1044x832)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Deptford Bridge

Image 120675
(180k, 1044x788)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: West Silvertown

Image 120691
(166k, 1044x788)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: King George V

Image 120709
(264k, 1044x787)
Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: South Quay

Image 120715
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Photo by: Bernard Chatreau
Location: Cutty Sark/Maritime Greenwich


More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201

Photos By Location

Bank, Tower Gateway, Shadwell, Limehouse, Westferry, Poplar, Blackwall, East India, Canning Town, Royal Victoria, Custom House/ExCel, Price Regent, Royal Albert, Beckton Park, Cyprus, Gallions Reach, Beckton, Stratford, Pudding Mill Lane, Bow Church, Devons Road, Langdon Park, All Saints, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, Heron Quays, South Quay, Crossharbour/London Arena, Mudchute (abandoned), Mudchute, Island Gardens (abandoned), Island Gardens, Cutty Sark/Maritime Greenwich, Greenwich, Deptford Bridge, Elverson Road, Lewisham, West Silvertown, Pontoon Dock, London City Airport, King George V, Woolwich Arsenal, Stratford International, Stratford High Street, Abbey Road, West Ham, Star Lane, DLR depot near Poplar, DLR depot near Beckton, DLR depot near All Saints

Page Credits

By Chris Wood.









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