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Docklands Light Railway

DLR is not a brand new thing: its first section was opened in 1987 as a fine example of the light rail transit concept. It was intended to connect Southern-London Docklands to the City as a fast public transit link. One of the show-off features (there were a number of them) of this line was that trains have no drivers - they are controlled automatically.

We approached DLR at Bank, the underground terminus. What surprised me was that the trains did not came to a halt at the same spot of the stop, and this made my efforts to take photos hard: some trains were too close, others too far :-)

The underground section was like a roller-coaster: the tunnel went up and down and left and right, and the rocky riding of the car also felt funny (I don't know if that was normal, or if the car had problems). I think someone with a weak stomach could very easily get sea-sick here :-) After the tunnel came a section where the tracks went on top of a railway viaduct. Since we took a car riding the Lewisham branch, one of our next stops was West India Quay.

I believe this is the gate of the futuristic Docklands itself, which is not just a district but a concept for how to turn old industrial grounds into something new and exciting!

I must say I found this place very interesting architecturally! Because of the whole quarter was built on top of the water, LRT was about the only choice for public transport here - even if there are bus and underground services leading here!

Let's see some vehicles too!

As I said, the trains have no driver, but there's a "train captain" responsible for the boarding and leaving of the passengers.

What they mainly do (or at least what I saw) was pushing a button when the boarding was over, and then reading a newspaper until reaching the next stop :-)

We (that's me and my girlfriend) took a train to the stop Cutty Sark (Greenwich), but I did not take any photos on that part, nor where the line goes under the Thames. Mabe next time: I was preserving space on the microdrive of my digital camera for Cutty Sark (the ship) and the Greenwich Observatory... By the way, the original terminus of the now-Lewisham brach was near Island gardens, at Mudchute, before the Thames.

Another shot with the stop Canary Wharf in the distance.

In the distance you can see the Milleneum Dome.

DLR vehicles use a third rail for conduit, as it can be seen here.

A train coming in from the City...

... with all-over advertisment.

There's this "back to the future" thing again!

To the left: the way to the City of London, and to the right to Stratford.

Another vehicle, this time in the normal livery of DLR. BTW as you can guess from the name "Docklands", this part has been built on top of docks, wharfs, quays and whatever, so the spaces between buildings are mostly canals and artifical lakes. This makes riding the DLR even more interesting. I'm quite sure that on my next visit to London I'll stay here a bit longer!

Thanks to Gerry Cork for corrections onthis page!

© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.

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