Transport for London has chosen CAF to build 43 driverless trains for East London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first vehicles replacing the oldest B90/B92 units – some of which will soon be 30 years old – by 2023. The approximately GBP350m (EUR390m) contract, announced on 12 June, includes technical support and spares.
DLR ridership has grown by over 65% since 2010, despite its fleet of 149 driverless trainsets remaining the same. The network carried 121.8m passengers last year, with forecasts suggesting a further 20m annually in the coming decade. Reconfiguring the Thales-supplied CBTC signalling system has added around 12% in capacity since 2014, with the main limiting factor now being the number and size of vehicles available.
Although only slightly longer than an existing three-car set, the new 88m walk-through trains will add around 20% capacity, real-time digital travel information, air-conditioning, USB charging points, and more dedicated wheelchair, bicycle and luggage space.
Based upon the latest CAF Metro design, 33 trains will replace the B90/B92 units, with ten more to increase frequency and capacity. Completion of the order is due in 2024. Options exist for up to 34 more trains; these would be required if a suggested night service is introduced.
The main depot at Beckton will also require expansion, with additional stabling and test tracks, and a new substation and trainwash. This is subject to a separate GBP100m (EUR112m) procurement.