The DLR Horizon Study was commissioned by TfL in 2004. Undertaken by Ove Arup & Partners, its main objective was to look at how the DLR could be developed over the period of 2012 to 2020, and to identify pragmatic development schemes to enhance or expand the network.

The study followed on from a previous successful Horizon study carried out in 1998. That study resulted in three recommendations being made – that the DLR take over the North London Line between Canning Town and Stratford, that the City Airport line be extended, and then that the DLR be extended again to Woolwich Arsenal. All three of these recommendations ultimately came to pass.

The 2005 study focused largely on possible extensions to the line. Overall, upwards of 45 suggestions were investigated and consulted upon, with a number being excluded on grounds of impracticality. The remaining possibilities were then investigated in far more detail, and scored based on complexity, ease of implementation and cost.

Finally, in July 2005, a report containing the study’s final recommendations was presented to TfL. This contained those proposals that scored highest on the study and were therefore recommended as possible options for further developing the DLR.

The DLR Horizon Report is no longer part of TfL’s official transport strategy (having been superceded by the upcoming Mayoral Transport Strategy) and has now been made available under the Freedom of Information Act. I have therefore summarised each of the recommendations it contains in the links below.

In no particular order, the recommendations were:

DLR Horizon 2020: Bank – Aldwych – Charing Cross
DLR Horizon 2020: Bank – Liverpool Street
DLR Horizon 2020: A Bank Loop via Barbican and Cannon Street
DLR Horizon 2020: Bank – Barbican (Previously Farringdon)
DLR Horizon 2020: Bank – Liverpool Street – Bishopsgate
DLR Horizon 2020: The Dagenham Dock Extension
DLR Horizon 2020: A Branch to Thamesmead
DLR Horizon 2020: A Branch from Greenwich to New Cross
DLR Horizon 2020: All Saints – Crossharbour
DLR Horizon 2020: A Bow Church – Hackney Central Branch Line
DLR Horizon 2020: Stratford – Lea Valley – Tottenham Hale
DLR Horizon 2020: Lewisham – Catford

Those wishing to read the final report in full, which contains more in-depth details on each of the options – such as passenger level forecasts and costing breakdowns – can download a PDF of it (approximately 1.5MB in size) from here:

DLR Horizon 2020 Final Report

[Addendum: If I get a chance, I’ll try and do “what if” tube map representations for all the above options. If someone feels like attempting it before me though, feel free! – JB]

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There are 10 comments on this article
  1. Trances says:

    As east London local. Great information. I was about to ask for the 2020 study to be discussed.

  2. Dylan W says:

    I've been wondering if they considered extending from Tower Gateway at all? I think an extension to London Bridge could take pressure off the Northern Line and Bank, but maybe difficult as it would have to go under the river.

  3. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Funnily enough there was a plan to extend from Tower Gateway – but only for a short distance – to Tower Hill Underground station I believe. Ian Brown of TfL even got as far as discussing it with London Metropolitan University situated on the other side of the road. If I recall correctly, it would have been a pretty wacky scheme with the line going through the middle of the building.

    I thought it was a real opportunity missed when redeveloping Tower Gateway not to rebuild the station straddling the main road (Minories) as crossing that road is one of the things that puts people people off and makes them think of Tower Gateway as rather stuck in the middle of nowhere important.

    Now that they have spent a lot of money remodelling Tower Gateway I cannot see it happening.

  4. James D says:

    This is absolutely fantastic. Thank you once again.

    Does anyone have any idea what options E1, E3-4, E6, E8-10, E14-20, E23, and E25-28 were? I'm suspecting the numbers range roughly west-to-east, but I haven't seen anything more than that.

  5. Dan says:

    I'm very surprised that all these bizarre under-central-London tunnel options were on the cards, but not the oft talk about proposed extension from Stratford international to Walthamstow.

    Interesting to get a glimpse at the thoughts of those in power.

  6. John Bull says:

    Does anyone have any idea what options E1, E3-4, E6, E8-10, E14-20, E23, and E25-28 were?

    From snippets I was able to get from other people who remembered the full report, I believe Charlton, East Ham and London Bridge extensions were all also looked at.

    That's all I know off the top of my head.

  7. Tom says:


    Couldn't help but notice that the FOI request on WhatDoTheyKnow hasn't been classified. Now you've got the report it would be good if 'James Medway' would mark it as the thing he was after:


  8. John Bull says:

    Couldn't help but notice that the FOI request on WhatDoTheyKnow hasn't been classified. Now you've got the report it would be good if 'James Medway' would mark it as the thing he was after:

    Sadly that particular request wasn't mine (like I said elsewhere, multiple requests were made by different people).

    The person who made that particular one knows its there though, so hopefully they'll tag it shortly.

  9. Mr C Nicholson says:

    Once again a nice document displaying london's opportunities with its transport. but how do you make "what if" graphs that shows these changes on today's tube map? What software to you use?

    Also I was thinking it is possible to extend the DLR from;

    – Beckton to Barking
    – Stratford international to Walthamstow
    – Woolwich A to Bromley South
    – Tower Gateway to Waterloo (replacing Waterloo & City line)

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