Train manufacturers across the European Union have been invited to consider supplying 43 new trains for London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from 2022, which would increase in service’s capacity by 30%.

Transport for London (TfL) has taken the standard step of publishing a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union seeking “expressions of interest” from companies in delivering the trains, which will be 87 metres long, “walk-through”, air-conditioned and include charging points for mobile devices.

Thirty-three of the 56 existing DLR trains, some of which are 25 years old, will be replaced by the new stock and the other ten will enable more passengers to be carried. The DLR began operating nearly 30 years ago and currently moves 122 million passengers a year between 45 stations.

Growing demand for the service is resulting from continuing, rapid development in Canary Wharf and neighbouring parts of East London linked by the DLR and will jump further when the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) opens next year due to its interchanges with the Custom House, West India Quay, Stratford and Canary Wharf DLR stations, where new platforms and other station facilities are being built.

Danny Price, TfL’s director of DLR, says the new trains will improve the reliability of the service and that beginning the ordering process now will ensure “best value for money in the long term”. A formal Invitation to Tender is expected to be issued later this year and a contract awarded next summer.

To learn more about the DLR’s history, read the excellent celebration of its 25th anniversary from London Reconnections.