Docklands Light Railway

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The Docklands Light Railway is a light rail service operating in the Docklands area of London.[1] It first opened in 1987, having originally approved in 1984. It was part of a plan to enhance the out-of-use and delapidated Docklands, called Canary Wharf.[2]

Much of the route follows closed sections of 19th century railways. Much of the line lies on these old railway viaducts across the docklands, however some lies overground, some in tunnels (between Bank and Shadwell, and Mudchute and Greenwich. The trains are fully automatic and, originally, used two carriage trainsets.

The system has many interchanges - the most important of these is Poplar. All DLR routes pass through this station, with the station being situated near a triangular junction. Also there are National Rail connections at Greenwich, Lewisham, Woolwich Arsenal, Limehouse, West Ham and Stratford, and Tower Gateway is close to Fenchurch Street. It links to the London Underground system at Bank, Canary Wharf, Stratford, Canning Town, and West Ham. Additionally, London Underground stations are within walking distance of Bow Church, Tower Gateway, and Heron Quays, these being Bow Road (on the Hammersmith and City and District Line), Tower Hill (on the Circle and District Line), and Canary Wharf (on the Jubilee Line - it is actually closer to Canary Wharf Underground station than Canary Wharf DLR!) It has a riverboat connection at Cutty Sark. It has one more connection at Shadwell - to the London Overground.[3]

By 2021 the Canary Wharf neighbourhood the route was built to serve had over 21 million square feet of new retail and office space.[4]


  1. John D. Landis (September 2021). Megaprojects for Megaregions: Global Cases and Takeaways. U.S. Department of Transport. Archived from the original on 2021-12-03. Retrieved on 2022-04-05. “With over 17 million square feet of commercial space, forty buildings and more than 120,000 employees as of this writing, Canary Wharf is a prominent example of urban regeneration rising from one of England’s most distressed communities, as well as an illustration of the importance of foresight, patience, and luck—both good and bad—when it comes to developing urban megaprojects.” mirror 2021-12-03
  2. DLR history timeline, Transport for London. Retrieved on 2022-04-06.
  3. The Docklands Light Railway, London, UK, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe - Earth edition. Retrieved on 2022-04-06.
  4. Canary Wharf: A Closer Look at Our History with this Transit-Oriented Community, Entuitive, 2021-06-29. Retrieved on 2022-04-06. “In addition to its walkways and bike paths, Canary Wharf also benefits from several transit connections, including London Underground’s Jubilee Line, two Docklands Light Railway stops, and the Thames Clipper River Bus.”