The DLR's massive upgrade draws closer as TfL names four bidders vying for contract to build new air-conditioned trains

Rebecca Smith
The contract to build 43 new walk-through trains will be awarded next autumn
The contract to build 43 new walk-through trains will be awarded next autumn (Source: TfL)

Frequenters of the DLR rejoice, for a train upgrade draws ever closer, as Transport for London (TfL) has announced that four bidders vying for a chance to secure the contract have been issued an invitation to negotiate.

Four pre-qualified bidders now proceed to the next stage of the formal procurement process.

Alstom Transport UK, Bombardier Transportation, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), and a consortium made up of Siemens, Stadler Bussnang AG, and Stadler Rail Valencia SAU, will now compete for the prize of building 43 new walk-through air-conditioned trains to start serving the capital from 2022.

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The contract will be awarded in the autumn next year, with the order including the raft of new trains to boost capacity on the DLR by up to 30 per cent.

The new trains will replace two-thirds of those currently in operation, some of which are nearly 25-years-old, and they will offer on-board, real-time information, as well as air conditioning and charging points for mobiles for the first time.

TfL said the upgrade is needed in order to support the rising popularity of the railway, along with the continuing redevelopment of the Docklands area. The DLR will soon provide several interchanges with the incoming Elizabeth Line services between central London, Shenfield and Abbey Wood, with the line getting up and running by the end of next year, and set to boost passenger numbers further.

These interchange stations include Canary Wharf, West India Quay, Stratford and Custom House.

Jonathan Fox, TfL’s director of rail and sponsored services, said:

This important step in the procurement process brings us closer to delivering the new trains needed to support the continued passenger growth on the DLR, which currently carries 122m customers a year.

These new trains will enable us to increase capacity on the network by up to 30 per cent, significantly improving the comfort, reliability and quality of our service for customers. They will also support the creation of further jobs and homes in the Docklands area.

At present, the DLR serves 45 stations and has 56 trains.

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