Pioneering Docklands Light Railway marks 25th birthday

�It started with just 11 trains serving 15 stations, amid fears from passengers because the new London railway had no driver.

Today, 25 years later and after billions of pounds of investment, the Docklands Light Railway has grown to a fleet of 149 carriages, carrying 86million passengers a year to 45 stations with more than 46km of track. And still it is run by computer.

There was a cake-cutting celebration at Stratford Station on Thursday to mark the DLR’s quarter of a century of service.

Opened by the Queen in August 1987, in its first year of operation the DLR carried 6.7m people.

The network was one of Britain’s first light rail systems, and it has one of the safest and most advanced automatic train control systems in the world.

Since opening, it has been extended to Bank, Beckton, Lewisham and Woolwich Arsenal.

Transport for London (TfL) has delivered an Olympic Delivery Authority-funded extension with four new stations created at Star Lane, Abbey Road, Stratford High Street and Stratford International.

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DLR director Jonathan Fox said at the ceremony: “We are proud to have been at the heart of communities in east and south east London for the past 25 years, and to have played our part in supporting Team GB and serving the international sporting community during the Games.

“In doing so, the DLR broke all previous records for passenger numbers, thanks to dedicated staff and many years of preparation beforehand which included adding extra carriages and installing signalling upgrades.

“When the Games are over, this Olympic legacy will ensure that team DLR will be well placed to continue its daily role serving commuters, as well as being part of the foundations for regenerating this vibrant and developing part of the capital.”

David Stretch, managing director of Serco Docklands Ltd, which has operated the railway on behalf of TfL and DLR since 1997, expressed his pride with improved reliability to help make London’s regeneration railway such a success.

Its busiest day was on August 3, day seven of the Olympics, when it carried more than 500,000 passengers.