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DLR DLR to City Airport

New branch from Canning Town to North Woolwich via the riverside, including Silvertown and City Airport.

Introduction

After completion of the Beckton branch in March 1994, along with completion of the Royal Albert Dock Spine Road, regeneration of the Docklands area to the north of the Royal Docks accelerated, but development to the south of the Docks has been slower in comparison, with the only rail service provided by the Silverlink North London Line at a half-hourly frequency.

The Silvertown area has extensive brownfield ex-industrial sites; provision of the DLR branch will encourage redevelopment (and already has, in the case of Pontoon Dock, where a large mixed-use development is being progressed, including the new London Aquarium).

The new London City Airport extension will improve development of the southern area of the Royal Docks as well as providing access to the airport itself, whose passenger figures are increasing quickly.

It was due to open on 16 December 2005, but actually opened ahead of schedule on 2 December. It is replacing the Stratford to North Woolwich of the North London Line, which will be closing in September 2006.

Route

View route map on DLR website.

The new route diverges from the Beckton branch southeast of Canning Town station, next to the Lower Lea Crossing.

From there it takes a route between the river and the main road (A1020 Silvertown Way / North Woolwich Road), with stations at West Silvertown (between the entrance to Plaistow Wharf and Knights Road) and Pontoon Dock (on the south side of the road opposite Pontoon Dock).

A station at Thames Wharf to the west of these other stations is possible but will not be built initially as the development site there is protected for a possible river crossing.

The railway then heads north over the North Woolwich Road so it can cross Connaught Bridge north of the southern roundabout. It runs alongside Hartman Road and then drops south just before the airport terminal building to reach a new elevated station, London City Airport, on the site of Drew Road Primary School, which is being rebuilt on adjacent land.

Finally the railway will run along the southern side of the dock to a ground-level terminus called King George V at the northern end of Pier Road.

The Woolwich extension will continue onward from here, diving down to the east into a bored tunnel.

Stations

Thames Wharf

This is a station included in the designs but will not be constructed with the extension to begin with since development has not been confirmed for the Thames Wharf site, which is protected for a possible river crossing.

West Silvertown
West Silvertown station under construction, Dec 2004
December 2004: West Silvertown station under construction

View a map centered on West Silvertown station.

This is located just to the south of North Woolwich Road, between Knight's Road and the entrance to Plaistow Wharf. It is elevated with stairs and lifts to a concourse at ground level next to the road.

Pontoon Dock
Pontoon Dock station under construction, Dec 2004
December 2004: Construction site at Pontoon Dock station

View a map centered on Pontoon Dock station.

This station serves the Silvertown Quays development site, which includes 3500 homes and a new site for the London Aquarium.

Located partly on the site of the car park for the Thames Barrier Park, it is elevated with a concourse at mezzanine level, and steps leading down to the road and a foot link into the park. Provision is being made for a new footbridge across the North Woolwich Road to link directly into the concourse.

(Connaught Road)

Provision has been made for a future stop just south of the Connaught Bridge. This would be close to the route of Crossrail, where a Silvertown interchange could be located in future.

London City Airport
City Airport construction site, Dec 2004
December 2004: Construction site at City Airport station, showing the viaduct dropping from the station site (immediately behind the photographer to the right, and not constructed at this time) down to ground level in an easterly direction. The road is Hartmann Road and to the left is the bus and taxi drop-off zone right outside the terminal entrance.

View a map centered on City Airport station.

This station is on the site of Drew Road Primary School, elevated and fully enclosed. It serves the local area to the south as well as the airport terminal.

Escalators and a lift drop down from the platforms to a mezzanine level concourse, which has one entrance to the north into the airport and another to the south onto Drew Road.

King George V

View a map centered on King George V station.

This is at ground level at the northern end of Pier Road, close to the existing North Woolwich terminus of the North London Line and convenient for the local shops and the Woolwich Ferry and subway.

Services

Trains are now running every 10 minutes off-peak between Bank and King George V. During the peaks, services are generally every 10 minutes or less as far as Canning Town, but only about half of trains carry on to Bank. Passengers can change at Canning Town onto services on the Beckton branch.

Passengers for Canary Wharf will need to change at Canning Town (to the Jubilee line) or Poplar.

With the opening of the Woolwich extension, there will be a higher frequency. 15tph will run, with 5tph to Canning Town, 5tph to Bank and 5tph to Canary Wharf and Lewisham.

Once the Stratford International extension opens, the 5tph to Canning Town will be extended to Stratford International via West Ham. Another 5tph to Stratford would be available by changing at Canning Town.

Also once the Stratford International extension opened, the North London Line would no longer run from Stratford to North Woolwich; the DLR City Airport branch would provide alternative stations: at City Airport to replace Silvertown station, and at King George V to replace North Woolwich station. King George V is less convenient for bus interchange than North Woolwich, but will be more convenient for local residents.

Money from the Olympics transport fund will be used to enhance the City Airport branch infrastructure to handle 3-unit trains so that longer services can run between Bank and Woolwich by 2012.

Journey Times

StationBankCanary Wharf*Stratford*
West Silvertown18 mins10 mins8 mins
Pontoon Dock20 mins12 mins10 mins
London City Airport22 mins14 mins12 mins
King George V24 mins16 mins14 mins

* Changing at Canning Town to the Jubilee Line.

Bus alterations

When the extension opens, TfL are expected to alter some of the local bus routes. According to the City Airport Consultative Committee, the 69 would probably cease to operate south of Canning Town, the 473 would not change and the 474 might be extended further north to serve West Ham and Manor Park, also being routed into the airport to serve it and the DLR station. It would still terminate at Canning Town after serving Manor Park.

News

(newest first)
DLR extension opens fortnight early
2005-12-11 04:57:10

A new 4.4km, 140m extension of the Docklands Light Railway from Canning Town via Silvertown and London City Airport to North Woolwich has been opened by the Mayor two weeks early.

Test trains begin on DLR extension
2005-08-19 09:09:22

Test trains have begun running on the DLR City Airport extension following a successful power-up and gauge test. For the next few months, the various systems controlling the new extension will be tested, culminating in a test run of the proposed service pattern for the line before the opening in December.

DLR extension viaducts complete
2005-02-10 07:47:13

Construction of the viaduct from Canning Town to London City Airport for the DLR's new branch to King George V station has been completed. Track laying and station construction continues, with test running scheduled for the autumn and work due to be completed on time in December.

Links & Sources

  1. TfL: DLR LCY Extension
  2. London Development Agency: Silvertown Quays (served by West Silvertown Station)

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