In Pictures: The DLR at Twenty Five

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Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the opening of the DLR. Originally intended as a low cost option to support the Docklands redevelopment programme, the DLR had a somewhat troubled gestation. Now, however, it forms a vital part of London’s transport infrastructure.

To help celebrate its birthday, we’ve pulled together some images from its past. If any readers have memories of the DLR’s construction or early years, please feel free to share them in the comments.

This also seems a good opportunity to highlight the existence of our new Flickr photo pool – The London Reconnections Photo Pool. If you have photos of London’s transport infrastructure, old or new, then we’d love to see them.

Indeed, if anyone has any DLR photos they feel would be of interest and would compliment those below, please feel free to add them to the pool and let us know that you’re happy for us to share them, we’ll look to add a selection to this article.

Building the Line

To minimise cost the DLR used a lot of existing infrastructure where possible. The photos below show the remains of Leman Street Station on the old London Tilbury & Southend at the end of the seventies, the construction of the DLR on the site and the same location today.

The old Leman Street Station

The old Leman Street Station, courtesy Danny McL

The DLR under construction

The DLR under construction, courtesy Danny McL

Leman Street today

Leman Street today, courtesy Danny McL

New building work was, obviously, also required. The photos below focus on Canary Wharf. Intended to open as part of the original stretch of line, it soon became clear that plans for a two platform station on the site were insufficient and its opening was thus delayed whilst the station was redesigned and expanded.

The site of Canary Wharf station (or thereabouts) in 1985

The site of Canary Wharf station (or thereabouts) in 1985, courtesy DaveAFlett

Looking south in 1985

Looking south in 1985, courtesy DaveAFlett

Canary Wharf station in 1991

Canary Wharf station in 1991, courtesy DaveAFlett

Mudchute under construction in 1987

Mudchute under construction in 1987, courtesy Steve White2008

The Beckton Extension under construction in 1990

The Beckton Extension under construction in 1990, courtesy Steve White2008

DLR Station mockup elements, 1994

DLR Station mockup elements, 1994, courtesy Steve White2008

The Early Years

The early years saw rapid change and expansion on the DLR, along with some troublesome early problems. In design terms, it was very much a product of its time, as the images below highlight.

The DLR in 1987

The DLR in 1987

The DLR at All Saints in 1987

The DLR at All Saints in 1987, courtesy Andy Neal

The (now demolished) Island Gardens station in 1987

The (now demolished) Island Gardens station in 1987, courtesy Andy Neal

A DLR Train Captain in 1987

A DLR Train Captain in 1987

The DLR at Stratford in 1993

The DLR at Stratford in 1993, courtesy Andy Neal

Inside the DLR, March 1990

Inside the DLR, March 1990, courtesy Steve White2008

The DLR (and Charlie Brown's!) in 1987

The DLR (and Charlie Brown’s!) in 1987, courtesy Steve White2008

The other side of a Photo Op, 1989

The other side of a Photo Op, 1989, courtesy Steve White2008

Ticket machines at Poplar, 1990

Ticket machines at Poplar, 1990, courtesy Steve White2008

Modern Times

Recent years have seen the DLR become a critical part of the London transport network. The images below are some of our favourites from its recent history.

The DLR in the snow

The DLR in the snow

The new South Quay station in 2009

The new South Quay station in 2009

DLR Trains en route from Germany in 2009

DLR Trains en route from Germany in 2009

Delta Junction in all its glory

Delta Junction in all its glory

Many thanks to all the Flickr contributors who kindly agreed to let us use their excellent photos in this article

Written by John Bull