DLR: TfL opens bidding for Docklands Light Railway operating contract

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The Docklands Light Railway eight-year franchise, worth an estimated £2.3 billion, covers train operation, network management and maintenance.

Transport for London (TfL) is seeking bids for a new franchise agreement on the Docklands Light Railway.

The existing franchise has been held by KeolisAmey since 2014 and expires on April 1 2025.

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The new contract awarded by TfL 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.

Under the contract, the franchisee will be 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.

Potential bidders have until October 2 to express their interest and TfL expects to issue invitations to tender or participate to selected candidates on January 2 2024.

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A total of 54 new turquoise trains will enter service between 2024 and 2026, 33 of which will replace the DLR’s oldest rolling stock.

TfL is seeking bids for a new franchise agreement on the Docklands Light Railway.TfL is seeking bids for a new franchise agreement on the Docklands Light Railway.
TfL is seeking bids for a new franchise agreement on the Docklands Light Railway. | Credit: TfL

The new trains will feature a walk-through design, latest audio and visual real time travel information, air conditioning and mobile device charge points

The new DLR trains have been funded by the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund and will be used to further increase capacity and help unlock 10,000 new homes across the network, particularly in the Royal Docks and on the Isle of Dogs.

Two of the new trains have been delivered and are already going through testing ahead of introduction from 2024.

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Testing is currently taking place in overnight engineering hours and during some planned closures but later this year customers will see test trains running during the day in gaps between normal services.

Seb Dance, deputy mayor for Transport, said previously: “More than 90 million journeys are made each year on the DLR. It is the busiest light railway in the UK and these new DLR trains will provide Londoners with more frequent, reliable and comfortable journeys from 2024.

“Each train will feature 10% more capacity and also provide better facilities for those with mobility impairments. The DLR is a vital transport option for east London and the Docklands area and these upgrades will support new jobs and homes in the area, helping to make London a greener, fairer and more prosperous city for all.”

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