FOI request detail

Records of decision making behind the DLR trains Lewisham line having (1) longer carriages; and (2) more frequent running trains

Request ID: FOI-4672-2324
Date published: 17 April 2024

You asked

Please provide all records pertaining to the decision making behind the DLR branch line to West Silvertown having (1) shorter carriages; and (2) trains every 7 minutes. Please provide all records of decision making behind the DLR trains Lewisham line having (1) longer carriages; and (2) more frequent running trains - in comparison to the DLR West Silvertown Branch Line. Such records should include but are not limited to, minutes of meetings, email correspondence, contracts (with employees and third parties - with the necessary redactions), any risk assessments, equality duty assessments and any other records relating to the decision making for the above matter.

We answered

Our ref: FOI-4671-2324/GH & FOI-4672-2324/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 18 March 2024 asking for information about the West Silvertown Branch Line of the DLR.

Your requests have been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

In response to your requests there are initially two points of clarity to highlight: 
  • trains are scheduled to run every 4 minutes at peak times on the Woolwich branch (not every 7 minutes) and, apart from during the pandemic, this hasn't changed since July 2010 
  • frequencies on the Lewisham branch have been higher than the Woolwich branch ever since the latter opened to City Airport in 2005 
Peak demand on the Lewisham branch is currently around 70% higher than on the Woolwich branch (as of autumn 2023), a difference which has increased since the Elizabeth line opened. Pre-pandemic, Lewisham branch peak demand was still around 50% higher than on the Woolwich branch (see our data at which is why peak services are more frequent on the former. 
A new timetable was introduced on the DLR in 15/05/2022 which is referred to as Optimisation 2. This timetable includes 15 trains per hour on the Woolwich Arsenal branch and 22.5 trains per hour on the Lewisham branch, with the same frequencies to the same destinations as pre-pandemic, but with 2-car trains operating Woolwich to Bank instead of Woolwich to Stratford as before. This reflected the new travel patterns following the opening of the Elizabeth line. 

In October 2023 we became aware of the need to increase resilience of the existing fleet by limiting the mileage on the B92 fleet due to delays of the introduction of the new trains (B23s). We reviewed options to provide mileage savings and the decision was made to run a more limited service over the Christmas period and also commence running two car services on a Monday and Friday on the Stratford International to Woolwich route (commenced 19/12/23). Due to continuing delays in the introduction of the new trains, in January 2024 mileage control options were revisited and the decision was made to run two car services on all weekdays on the Stratford International to Woolwich route (commenced 6/2/24). 
We are looking at ways to ensure that we can continue to offer customers the most reliable and frequent service with the existing fleet, some of which has reached the end of its design life and has been operating since early 1990s. We undertook assessments and modelling to make these decisions. 

Capacity will be gradually restored when the new trains enter service later this year. The train frequencies and timetables remain unchanged from the timetable launched in May 2023. When the new trains are rolled out, they will replace the older trains in the DLR fleet, which will help us to improve the frequency and reliability of services and restore capacity.  

Once all of the new trains are introduced, the DLR total fleet will have been increased by approximately a third, meaning that we can introduce a number of timetable and capacity improvements across the network. 

Please find attached copied of emails and other documents relating to this decision. Please note that in accordance with our obligations under Data Protection legislation some personal data has been removed, as required by section 40(2) of the FOI Act. This is because disclosure of this personal data would be a breach of the legislation, specifically the first principle of Article 5 of the UK General Data Protection Regulation which requires all processing of personal data to be fair and lawful. It would not be fair to disclose this personal information when the individuals have no expectation it would be disclosed and TfL has not satisfied one of the conditions which would make the processing ‘fair’.
This exemption to the right of access to information is an absolute exemption and not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest favours use of the exemption.

Please let me know if this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London


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