Consultation to be launched for DLR extension

The Docklands Light Railway could gain a new line under the River Thames to Thamesmead if plans currently being consulted on are approved. The plan would see a branch installed off the Beckton line with new stations at Beckton Riverside as well as Thamesmead with up to 25,000-30,000 new homes being unlocked along the route.

The consultation, which launched on 5th February and will continue until 18th March 2024, is looking for opinions from the public on the proposals. The preferred route will be a cross-river extension between Gallions Reach and Thamesmead via Beckton Riverside which would see new stations built.

TfL has been working alongside the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the London Borough of Newham and the Greater London Authority as well as landowners Peabody, Lendlease, abrdn, St William (Berkeley Homes) and Homes England to support the delivery of new homes, improved town centres and better access to jobs within and from Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead. It has been concluded the only way to achieve this will be better public transport connections – which is where the proposed DLR extension comes in. The extension would connect two Opportunity Areas and four development sites.

Leaving the current Beckton line just beyond Gallions Reach the line would curve round to a new station at Beckton Riverside. It would then tunnel under the Thames linking to a new station at Thamesmead. This would build on experience from 2009 when the DLR was extended to Woolwich Arsenal, tunnelling under the Thames, with housing growth following in areas including Woolwich, Canning Town and the Royal Docks.

Public feedback from this consultation will help to make decision about the scheme and inform the designs and next steps. After the consultation closes the next stage of the scheme will see progression towards an Outline Business Case.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Although we have started a record-breaking 116,000 plus genuinely affordable homes and completed more homes of all types since any time since the 1930s, the demand for housing in London shows no sign of slowing down.

“I’m excited for TfL to launch this consultation - extending the DLR will unlock huge opportunities for London, support tens of thousands of new homes, deliver new transport connections, and boost the economy, supporting the creation of thousands of jobs. Enabling the infrastructure needed for the capital’s growth is key to building a better, more prosperous London for everyone.”

TfL has already conducted a feasibility study into the transport plans for the area and this concluded that although improved bus services would provide some benefit, without the addition of a rail service (DLR) it wouldn’t on its own provide the level of connectivity or capacity needed for the extra 25,000-30,000 homes planned.

This feasibility study was funded by a partnership of private sector and public sector bodies and allowed a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) to be presented to the Government in 2023.

Currently the scheme does not have any funding in place but TfL are hopeful that any extension would be able to open in the early 2030s with construction starting by 2028.

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