DLR trains history of the rolling stock
DLR trains can run all by themselves and do not need a driver. To ensure the safety of the passengers, a train captain is present in every train. The train captain takes care of closing the doors without people getting stuck between them, checking tickets, assisting passengers and fault-finding in case anything goes wrong. It is also possible for a train captain to manually drive the train using one of the emergency driving consoles at both ends of the train. In manual mode the train is still protected by the automatic train protection(ATP) system. The trains themselves have communication links to the control-center, from where all trains are controlled by a central computer. The control-center staff monitors the trains and all stations (via a closed circuit television system). It's also possible to communicate directly to the passengers in case the passenger alarm is used.
The front of a DLR train, click picture for full-size
The first trains to run on the DLR tracks were 11 trains of the P86 type, the first one arriving on 7th august 1986. These trains were made partly in Germany, all electric components were installed in Britain. Each train has an 'A' end and a 'B' end, the equipment that controlls the train is located in the 'B' end of the train.
In 1989, the fleet was extended with ten P89 trains which were on the outside almost identical to the P86 ones. The P89 trains are able to operate in pairs to form longer trains and can be used underground in the tunnel to Bank station.
A P86 train at South Quay
The growing number of passengers and the extension of the line to Beckton made even more trains necessary. Those trains, the B90 and B92 stock, were made in Belgium. The fleet was extended by 23 B90 trains (numbers 22-44) and 47 B92 trains (numbers 45-91 and equipped with new signalling equipment by Alcatel of Canada).
Some B-stock details:
  • Length : 28 m
  • Width : 2.65 m
  • Height : 3.47 m
  • Weight : 36 tonnes
  • Seats
    • total : 70
    • Pairs : 12
    • longitudinal : 42
    • tip-up : 4
  • Capacity : 284 passengers
  • Maximum speed : 80 km/h
  • Wheels
    • New : 740 mm
    • Min. : 680 mm
interior of a B-stock train
The first 11 trains, of the P86 type, were not able to be used underground in the tunnel to bank station. Upgrading the trains would have been too expensive so a German buyer for the 11 trains was found. That left the DLR fleet to 80 trains, 10 P89, 23 B90 and 47 B92 trains. Later, in 1995, the 10 P89 vehicles have been sold and all B90 trains have been rebuilt to B92 by installing the new Automatic Train Operation/Protection (ATO/ATP) equipment by Alcatel.


Docklands Light railway page / R.P.F. Consemulder / dlrsite@conz.co.uk / august 1999