DLR: Docklands Light Railway operator shortlist announced - with contract extension option

TfL has announced the three firms bidding to run the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).
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The company running the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is on a shortlist to extend its operation of the line.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced a list of three firms bidding to take charge of the line from April 2025.

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The list includes current operator KeolisAmey Docklands - a joint venture between Keolis and Amey - as well as ComfortDelGro and Connecting Docklands.

ComfortDelGro is a multinational firm listed on Singapore's stock exchange. It owns companies including Metroline, which operates bus services in London, and Megabus.

Connecting Docklands is a joint venture between Newcastle-based transport firm Go Ahead and Canadian-British engineering company Atkins, which did work on the London Olympics and designed the diagonal pedestrian crossings at Oxford Circus.

The existing franchise has been held by KeolisAmey since 2014. The new contract is expected to run for an initial eight years with potential two-year and seven-month extensions. The contract is worth an estimated £2.3 billion.

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The franchisee is responsible for train and passenger service operations on the DLR network and management of the automatic train control system, as well as maintenance of all rolling stock, infrastructure and assets.

This year, the DLR network will receive a new fleet of trains starting next year. 54 new turquoise trains will enter service between 2024 and 2026, 33 of which will replace the DLR’s oldest rolling stock.

TfL has launched a consultation on plans to extend the DLR from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead. A new DLR station would be built at Beckton Riverside, with a tunnel under the River Thames linked to another new DLR station at Thamesmead.

A shortlist has also been announced by TfL to run the Elizabeth line. The bidders are Arriva UK Trains, First Keolis Elizabeth line (a joint venture between First Group PLC and Keolis SA), GTS Rail Operations Limited (a joint venture between Go Ahead Holdings Limited, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Metro Co Ltd), and MTR Corporation (UK) Limited.