Transport for London (TfL) has started its search for a supplier to build the next generation of Docklands Light Railway (DLR) trains in what will be a £300-£350m contract.
The new walk-through trains will be air conditioned and will increase capacity by over 30 per cent, when they are introduced in 2022.
TfL said the trains will also be more reliable and provide customers with real-time information, air conditioning and charging points for devices.
It comes amid significant redevelopment going on around the Docklands area which the DLR serves. In the Royal Docks, 7,000 homes and up to 36,500 jobs will be created. TfL is replacing two-thirds of the current trains, some of which are 25-years-old, and plans to order 43 new 87m long trains, to provide more capacity.
Passenger use is also set to rise with the Elizabeth Line's introduction, with the DLR interchanging with the new line from 2018. Services between central London, Shenfield and Abbey Wood will interchange with the DLR at the likes of Canary Wharf and Stratford.
Danny Price, TfL’s director of DLR, said:
These new trains will enable us to increase capacity on the DLR by 30 per cent, significantly improving the comfort, reliability and quality of our service for customers.
Ordering them now ensures that we get the best value for money in the long term and can support continuing growth in east London. We intend to go out to tender later this year with the new trains entering service from 2022.
A formal invitation to tender is expected to be issued later this year and a contract awarded in the summer of next year.
The news comes in the DLR's 30th anniversary year. It began operating on 31 August 1987 and initially ran with just 11 trains serving 15 stations. Now it has 45 stations and 56 trains and carries 122m passengers a year.