Docklands Light Railway Lewisham Extension

  • DLR at Canary Wharf - under the canopy
  • DLR at Canary Wharf
  • DLR at Stratford

The Docklands Light Railways (DLR) was initially developed as a new low cost transport system to access the areas where development would take place within the London Docklands Development Zone. Construction of the initial system started in 1984 and was opened to passengers in 1987. However, the success of the regeneration in the Docklands soon put pressure on this system, and demand grew for more extensions, especially to the south under the River Thames.

The 24.5 year concession to design, build, fund and maintain the Lewisham Extension to the DLR, was let in 1996 to a consortium known as CGL Rail Link Plc. The major aspect of the scheme from a construction perspective was a new tunnel under the River Thames, with the link opening to passengers in 1999. However, equally uniquely, it was the first major public private transport concession in the UK to be financed using a bond rather than traditional bank debt.

BuroHappold were appointed by CGL Rail Link Plc in 2012 to prepare passenger forecasts for the link to cover the period to the end of the concession in 2021. The findings of the report were utilised in the financial model for the concession.

This part of the DLR, via the tunnel under the Thames, provides a key link between Lewisham and Greenwich in the south and Canary Wharf and Stratford in the north. A key consideration for our work was predicting the impact of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on passenger numbers, both during the Games, and longer term through access from south of the river to the Post Games Legacy developments at Stratford.

Key facts

  • Low cost transport system
  • Preparation of passenger forecasts

The Project Details

Client: CGL Rail Link Plc