The Anonymous Widower

How Will Crossrail Affect The Docklands Light Railway?

When Crossrail opens, there will be a simple step-free walking link between  Canary Wharf station and and Poplar DLR station.

As Poplar is the station on the DLR, where the North-South and the East-West routes cross, this is one of the better connectivity features of Crossrail.

Poplar serves a junction in four directions:

At present to get to Greenwich and Lewisham, you need to change at Canary Wharf DLR station, but as there is a reasonable walking route between Canary Wharf station and Canary Wharf DLR station, passengers for Lewisham could use that route.

As Crossrail will also have a reasonable link to the DLR at both Stratford and Woolwich, I wonder if we’ll see some reorganisation of services on the North-South DLR route between Lewishan and Stratford International.

Will some services go all the way between Lewisham and Stratford International?

Obviously, this will be determined by the routes travellers take after Crossrail opens.

There will also be affects due to the Law of Unexpected Consequences.

I am fairly sure, that Crossrail trains on the two Eastern branches will interface well at Whitechapel station, so passengers going between a station on the Abbey Wood branch to one on the Shenfield branch may prefer to go via Whitechapel, as it will be a simple cross-platform interchange.

How will this affect passenger numbers on the Jubilee Line and the DLR?

I suspect that passengers will use the route that is best for them and this can only mean spare capacity on the two historic routes.

As Crossrail will also be a bypass for the Central Line with connections between the two lines at Stratford, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Ealing Broadway, the Greater East London area will be a big beneficiary from Crossrail.

We’ll have to wait and see how passenger numbers work out, but I think that the North-South route of the DLR could be blessed with spare capacity because of Crossrail, so there may be scope to extend the route past Stratford International and Lewisham.

Two possible extensions from Lewisham are detailed on Wikipedia.

But there is nothing past Stratford International. The DLR Horizon 2020 Study, does propose an extension up the Lea Valley to Tottenham Hale. This is the report’s summary of this route.

A DLR extension to Tottenham Hale via the Lea Valley was tested extending all services (15tph) onwards from Stratford International. The route would run alongside the Lea Valley rail route. The DLR extension is seen as serving intermediate markets (heavy rail would only stop at Tottenham Hale and Stratford) and would serve the Olympic site(s) and the Olympic legacy with additional stops at Lea Bridge and Walthamstow Marshes. Potential drawbacks are largely environmental, covering concerns over Hackney Marshes and the Lea Valley reservoirs.

I talked about it in a sub-section of The High Meads Loop At Stratford. This is a summary of what I said.

Extension of the DLR to Tottenham Hale was mooted a few years ago and a document called DLR Horizon 2020 talked about extending the system from Stratford International up alongside the Lea Valley Lines to Tottenham Hale station

It may be a worthy idea, but does it really make economic sense, when according to what you believe a lot of things may be happening in the area.

When the heavy rail expansion is sorted and the area between Tottenham and Walthamstow is developed as housing and a very large wetland and leisure area, the case for a Lea Valley Light Railway may be stronger and in need of reassessment.

What happens to the North-South route will be driven by the consequences of Crossrail and the massive need for housing in London and the transport links to serve it.

The Mayor’s Plan For A Gallions Reach Extension

The latest plan is to extend the DLR from Gallions Reach station across the Thames to Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.

I wrote about this plan in The Mayor’s Plans For East London River Crossings.

I shall repeat what I said, as I think this is a plan with legs.

BBC article says this about this proposal.

A DLR crossing at Gallions Reach, helping support the development of around 17,000 new homes across Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich

It is different to the original proposal of a Docklands Light Railway extension to Dagenham Dock, which stayed on the North bank of the Thames.

This map shows the area of London from Gallions Reach to Abbey Wood.

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood

Gallions Reach To Abbey Wood


  • Gallions Reach DLR station is marked with the red arrow.
  • Just to the North of Gallions Reach station is the main DLR depot, which would probably be an excellent site to start a tunnel.
  • The tunnel would probably emerge on the South bank of the Thames to the West of Thamesmead.
  • It could then weave its way along the side of the main road.
  • The North Kent Line with Abbey Wood and Belvedere stations runs along the bottom of the map.
  • Crossrail could be extended to Gravesend.
  • Crossrail should also be extended Ebbsfleet International for European rail services.

If the DLR extension went from Gallions Reach DLR station  to Abbey Wood station it will be a loop on Crossrail serving a lot of areas ripe for quality housing and commercial development.

It certainly looks a feasible area to think about taking the DLR.

I also think if more destinations are created in the East, then this will need other developments.

  • More capacity in the new trains, that are being ordered.
  • Extra destinations in the West
  • Expansion of the North-South route t balance the network.

The North and South extensions were covered earlier.

Extension To The West

I have written about this in Extending The Docklands Light Railway West From Bank Station.


The Docklands Light Railway must be one of the best stop-gap transport projects ever created.

Crossrail’s effects on the DLR will be more about providing opportunities, than creating problems.

We also shouldn’t underestimate the role of the DLR in bringing passengers to Crossrail.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

London Gets A New Garden

The British on the whole love their gardens and London’s new garden over Crossrail Place, the shopping centre on top of the Canary Wharf Crossrail station has now opened under its plastic roof.

It will be interesting to see how this station-cum-shopping centre develops. The cinema opens soon and there’s a floor and a half of shops at least to open before the station opens towards the end of the decade.

May 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Canary Wharf Station – 22nd March 2015

It’s only a couple of months before the Shopping Centre above Canary Wharf Crossrail station opens.

It looks like it will make it!

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Crossrail As A Tourist Attraction

Today, I took the Docklands Light Railway to Custom House station to see progress and then came back to see the works at Canary Wharf station.

In one of the pictures of Custom House station, you can just see the portals for the Conaught Tunnel. This was a particularly challenging rebuild of an old Victorian tunnel, which was one of the subjects covered in the BBC documentary; Fifteen Billion Pound Railway.

One thing I was trying to see, was one of the trees they are planting in the gardens on top of the station, that are mentioned in this article in the Wharf.

There seemed to be others looking around and now that you can walk from Poplar DLR station over the bridge at Bank Street, there are better opportunities for looking at the sites.

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Adam’s Place

Appropriately, this is one of the first places created and opened by Crossrail.

I didn’t realise it was open until today.

But it will be a superb place to meet, if you’ve come to Canary Wharf on Crossrail.

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Could St. Pancras Thameslink Station Have Had An Island Platform?

St. Pancras Thameslink station is in a big box under the western side of St. Pancras station.

St. Pancras Thameslink Station

St. Pancras Thameslink Station

The picture shows the inside of the station with the two tracks running between wide platforms and the access by escalators at the side of the platforms. The escalators are joined by a bridge which has further escalators to the main station concourse.

Although step free it is not the nicest of interchanges.


  1. Arriving Eurostar passengers must walk a hundred metres or so, then descend two escalators or lifts to get to a Thameslink platform.
  2. Departing Eurostar passengers at least have a shorter walk after they ascend to the concourse.
  3. Does the very independent Tante Dominique from Lille know whether she needs to go North or South on Thameslink to get to her nephew’s station of Sutton? This will get worse when the full Thameslink opens in 2018, as it will serve another 100 stations.
  4. Linking to the South Eastern High Speed and East Midlands services, involves a further ascent from or descent to the main concourse.
  5. To get to Kings Cross or the Underground, you have to walk across in one of two subways, which have steps and escalators at the St. Pancras end.
  6. The subteranean link from the Victoria Line to Thameslink must be the longest in London.

As the rebuilding of St. Pancras was only started a few years ago, it is a tragic case of old outdated thinking, getting in the way of modern design rules.

If you look at the design of the Crossrail station at Canary Wharf, you’ll see that the two rail lines are separated by a large island platform with escalators in the centre of that platform.

One picture in the link is a cross section of the station, which clearly shows the train lines and the stack of escalator connected floors above.

It would seem to me that St. Pancras Thameslink could have been created as a long island platform, with one set of escalators at the current location leading directly to the concourse.

The station would of course need to have platform edge doors, but London has had these for years on the Jubilee Line. As from 2018, Thameslink will be a totally Class 700 railway, the fitting of the doors could surely have waited until after the new trains had arrived. Remember that there are many busy stations in London, that work well without platform edge doors.

The central island layout gives several advantages.

  1. Several sets of escalators could be installed, as they will be at for instance at Canary Wharf. One could be at the Euston Road end and could speed passengers to and from that road, buses and the Metropolitan Line. Another could be in the centre to link directly to Eurostar and others might link across to the subways to Kings Cross.
  2. Passengers changing direction would just walk across the platform.
  3. It would be possible to add coffee stalls, toilets and other customer facilities as needs demanded.
  4. The biggest advantage would probably be the improvement in the passenger environment, by separating passengers and trains. So a rather draughty unwelcoming station would have been light and airy and much more customer-friendly.

In my view a wonderful opportunity has been missed to create the best station in the world.

All we’ve got is a second rate interchange, that means a lot of up and down, and walking down endless subterranean passageways.

St. Pancras is very much a fur coat and no knickers station!

Show on top and draughty and lacking at the bottom!



August 13, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | 5 Comments

Canary Wharf Crossrail Station From The Other End

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of Canary Wharf Crossrail station, but never from the eastern end.

Canary Wharf Crossrail Station From The Other End

Canary Wharf Crossrail Station From The Other End

It must be the only railway station in the world, that looks like a gigantic floating ocean liner, built mainly out of concrete.

January 5, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Roof Goes On Canary Wharf Crossrail Station

If Canary Wharf Crossrail station is the taster for the standard of the stations on the new line, then we’re in for a treat.

The Roof Goes On Canary Wharf Crossrail Station

The Roof Goes On Canary Wharf Crossrail Station

Some of our best Victorian architecture was reserved for stations, like Paddington, Kings Cross and St. Pancras. Are we repeating this in the twenty-first century?

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Inside Canary Wharf Crossrail Station

This was one of the must-see events in Open House.

The areas we saw were the bottom levels of Canary Wharf station where trains and passengers go.  On the top of these floors is a large retail mall.

This is the future, where stations are more than just means to access the trains. The new Birmingham New Street station has another large retail mall on top and the new Crossrail station at Woolwich, is underneath masses of flats, as is my local station of Dalston Junction. Land is expensive, but digging down or building in the sky only increases its value and hopefully gives benefits to all of us.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Canary Wharf Station’s Pedestrian Tube

The Pedestrian walkway (Or is it a tube?) to Canary Wharf Crossrail station is getting to be recognisable as to what it will be.

It does appear that we will see some spectacular stations on Crossrail.

April 25, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment