A fleet of 43 new walkthrough trains on the Docklands Light Railway will be built by CAF following the awarding of a contract by Transport for London. These new trains will replace 33 of the oldest trains currently running on the DLR plus an additional ten to add additional capacity to the network.
The new trains will be based on CAF’s successful Metro vehicle design and will once again be driverless as per the remainder of the fleet, whilst still retaining the ability for a member of staff to take control in certain circumstances. They will be formed of five sections and will be one continuous train so that one of these vehicles will replace a triple unit of trains as currently seen on the DLR; the length of one train will be approximate to three of the old units. Although CAF are to have a new construction base in Wales it hasn’t at this stage been announced where the trains will be built.
The vehicles will include the latest audio and visual real time travel information, air conditioning and mobile charging points. There will also be better facilities for those with mobility impairments with three multi-use areas in addition to three dedicated wheelchair spaces. These areas can also be used for pushchairs, bicycles or luggage.
Jon Fox, TfL Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said: “Replacing the oldest trains on the DLR and introducing a new modern fleet will ensure the railway continues to support the current and future growth in the Docklands area. With walk-through carriages, real time travel information, air conditioning and mobile device charging points, the new trains will provide customers with a more comfortable and reliable service, replacing rolling stock that are nearly 30 years old and coming to the end of their operational life.”
Richard Garner, CAF UK Director, added: “We are delighted to be awarded such a significant contract by Transport for London to supply trains for the UK’s busiest light railway. CAF’s Metro vehicle design is ideally placed to meet the specific demands of this unique operation, not only increasing passenger capacity, but delivering the very latest in comfort, convenience and safety for passengers. These trains will support the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy to make London a greener, more accessible place to live, work and visit as well as supporting new jobs and homes.”
The delivery of the new trains will also mean the end of the line for the oldest units in the fleet. It hasn’t been confirmed exactly which of the trains will be withdrawn by it would appear to be the end for definitely the B90 units (built 1991-2) of which there are 22 with the remaining vehicles likely to be taken from the 45 strong B92 class (constructed 1992-5).
The awarding of the contract to CAF also brings an end to Bombardier’s domination of providing vehicles to the Docklands Light Railway with all current trains having been built by that firm (or a company that became part of the Bombardier firm).