Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Light Rail systems in London (DLR and Trams)

Transport for London (TfL) currently have two Light Rail systems, the automated light rail which serves the City of London, East London and the Docklands, and the tram system which serves the South of London.
Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is an automated light rail system, it carries almost 140 million passengers (from April 2014 to March 2015 annual report).
It first began operation on 31st August 1987 which compromised two routes, one from Tower Gateway and Stratford to Island Gardens. The original 13km 13 station system cost £77 million, which seems to be lot of money back then.
The DLR is driverless as every train has a Passenger Service Agent (formally known as Train Captain during the early days of DLR service), they operate the doors and allow the train to depart with the automated system. Their other duties are to check for valid tickets, Oyster fares and to deal with information to customers. 
The current rolling stock for the DLR is B90. B92, B2K & B07, all manufactured by Bombardier Transportation. You can see more on the Wikipedia page.
Currently the DLR system is 21 miles (34km) and it has 6 lines which serve 45 stations.
The current routes on the DLR are:
·         Bank to Lewisham
·         Bank to Woolwich Arsenal
·         Stratford to Canary Wharf (extended to Lewisham in the Monday to Friday morning peak)
·         Stratford International to Beckton
·         Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal
·         Tower Gateway to Beckton

The system crosses the River Thames from East London to South London which goes to Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal.
Here is the map of the DLR system

Various maps of the DLR can be viewed on TFL’s website.
The fare system for the Docklands Light Railway is part of the ‘Travelcard’ Zones, so the system is on Zones 1, 2, 3 & 4. You can see the fares here.
Also you can view the timetables of the DLR and their Live Departure boards.
The DLR Service updates are part of Underground, Overground and TfL Rail Network which can be seen here and on the right hand column on this website.
The DLR have on-board train announcements which announce station and various information for passengers.
If you think the operations of the DLR is operated by DLR themselves, the answer is: Prior to 1997, it was a wholly owned subsidiary of London Regional Transport, which means the service was publicly operated. 1992 it was transferred to the London Docklands Development Corporation, sponsored by the Department of Environment. Then post 1997, the DLR concession was franchised off to a private firm called Serco. It retained their contract in 2005 and then on 7th December 2014 the private operations were handed over to Keolis Amey Docklands under a new contract by Transport for London. You can read more about private operating companies contracted by TFL in my previous article.
Here are couple of videos which I've taken on the Docklands Light Railway.
Docklands Light Railway ‘cab’ view ride from Stratford to Canary Wharf
The DLR train crossing the Middle Dock bridge from Heron Quays to Canary Wharf station
15th December 2015: More Docklands Light Railway videos

Journey from Tower Gateway to Canning Town

Docklands Light Railway trains at Bank Station

Journey from Limehouse to Bank

DLR Trains at Canary Wharf station 

Journey from Canary Wharf to Deptford Bridge

The thing I really like about this video is watching the train on the elevated track going past a small City because it brings character to Canary Wharf and the Docklands in East London.
Not to mention that the North East of England has a light rail/rapid transit system which is Tyne and Wear Metro, which is driver operated.
You can see more on the Docklands Light Railway in the links below.
DLR London official website
Docklands Light Railway unofficial page (Last updated 21st April 2000)
KeolisAmey Docklands (operating company contracted by DLR)
Croydon Tramlink

Tramlink is a tram service which serves Croydon and parts of South London.
It began operation in May 2000 as 'Croydon Tramlink' which became the first Tram system in London since 1959. More than 30.9 million journeys are made onTramlink according to the April 2014 - March 2015 TFL annual report.
The length of the Tram system is 17 miles (28km) and it serves 39 stops/stations.
The list of Lines Tramlink have are:
·         1 (Elmers End-Croydon)
·         2 (Beckenham Junction-Croydon)
·         3 (Wimbledon-New Addington)
·         4 (Elmers End-Therapia Lane)

Map of the Tramlink system

The map is from Transport for London website.
You can view the Tramlink timetables from ‘London Bus Routes’ website as well as TFL website.
The rolling stock of Tramlink is 24 Bombardier CR4000 and 6 Stadler Variobahn Trams.
The operations of Tramlink are contracted to First Group; their company name is Tram Operations Limited (TLO).
The fare system of Tramlink is part of London Buses and you can use your London Bus passes on Tramlink services in South London, you can also use Travelcard on your Oyster card or a paper Day Travelcard if it includes Zones 3, 4, 5 & 6 validity. You can see more on the fares from this link.
Here are some videos of the Tramlink system.
Trams at East Croydon, South London
Journey on Tramlink Line 3 from East Croydon to Beddington Lane
There are other tram systems throughout Britain and Ireland, those are:
·         Blackpool Tramway
·         Edinburgh Trams from Scotland
·         Luas Tram from Dublin, Ireland (operated under contract to Transdev)
·         Metrolink from Manchester, England (operated under contract to RATP Group)
·         Midland Metro from Birmingham, England (operated by National Express)
·         Nottingham Express Transit
·         Sheffield Supertram (operated by Stagecoach)

You can see more on the Tramlink system below.
Show Bus article on Tramlink
City Transport Info on Tramlink
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, TumblrPinterest and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92

Image Attributions
"DLR unit 109 at Heron Quays" by Sunil060902 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DLR_unit_109_at_Heron_Quays.JPG#/media/File:DLR_unit_109_at_Heron_Quays.JPG
"Tram 2556 at Centrale" by Sunil060902 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tram_2556_at_Centrale.JPG#/media/File:Tram_2556_at_Centrale.JPG

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