Members of the Transport for London board will next week be asked to approve the purchase of 43 new DLR trains amid warnings that increasing levels of mechanical faults in much of the current fleet is adversely impacting network reliability.
Around two-thirds of existing trains are now at the end of their 25 year design life and many are experiencing cracking on the chassis and other faults which are reducing the network’s performance levels.
While it’s possible to extend their working life, a paper to be considered by the board’s Programmes and Investment Committee states this could cost up to £260m and require each train to be taken out of service while remedial works were carried out.
With passenger levels expected to increase above their current 115 million annual level due to population growth and regeneration works along the DLR’s route, managers warn this option would leave the network unable to cope with demand.
In addition, the report warns that “the high capital costs of life extension mean that it would struggle to generate sufficient operating cost savings or benefits over the additional 10-15 years of life obtained.”
Committee members are therefore being asked to approve the 43 new trains which could enter service by 2024.
The paper says each of the new trains would be able to carry 10% more passengers, while delivering an “improved customer experience through real time information screens, climate control and mobile device charging points.”
Although the majority of the cost is likely to be met by TfL, London City Airport, which is served by the DLR, has pledged to contribute towards the cost of the new trains.