DLR sizes up network expansion
Transport for London has released speculative plans showing potential extensions to the existing DLR network.
The map shows new lines to the east to Dagenham Dock; to the south to Catford and Forest Hill and deeper in to west London with lines to Victoria, via Charing Cross, and St Pancras, via Euston.
The extensions aim to anticipate the growth in traffic over the next 20-30 years and there is no suggestion that any of the schemes will be moved from the drawing board any time soon.
TfL said: "DLR is putting together a "Planning Vision" setting in place all the necessary improvements to deliver the mayor's strategy in the Docklands. This takes into account the level of growth we expect in the Docklands and when we need to deliver each improvement."
These developments are not exactly new. The preparatory work for the Dagenham Dock extension has been done to the point of applying for a Transport and Works Act. (Indeed, it's still listed as a "Current Project" on the DLR website.) Mayor Boris Johnson cancelled the project as a signal of his intent to clamp down on capital projects but has since warmed to the theme of improved transport links in east London.
This development - which ties in with the growth of the Thames Gateway and the regeneration of outer east London - is the most likely to happen when the economic conditions are right.
The development further west has also been indicated in the past and will become increasingly more pressing as Bank station wilts under the pressure, reducing the overall effectiveness and capacity of the network. To handle trains every two minutes, Bank needs to be a through station.
Despite the tangle of lines and tunnels, it is easier to thread through a light railway to Charing Cross than other high profile infrastructure links.
Southwards from Lewisham to Catford and Forest Hill has also been discussed and makes sense because land is freely available, Catford has high density housing and the link to Woolwich Arsenal has shown how opening up corridors to commuters also spreads the wealth concentrated in the financial hubs of the City and Canary Wharf.
Also indicated in the document is double-tracking between Bow Church and Stratford.
TfL concluded: "Any decisions on what shape or form expansion may take are some time away and nothing will be decided without full consultation."