Last week's event showing off the new DLR railcars was also the launch for the three-car DLR project, so it's probably time I wrote about what's happening.
First, a note about terminology. This is what what a "three-car" DLR train looks like. Each articulated unit counts as one "car", so the three-car project amounts to running three units coupled together rather than two, not adding a third segment to each unit as many people misunderstand. And although the new cars have been bought as part of the three-car project, they're likely to run in two-car configuration to begin with. In time, old and new cars will all be coupled in threes.
As is visible in that picture, most stations on the DLR are only long enough for two cars, so the main part of the project is rebuilding the platforms, and most . At most stations they can easily extend them in one direction or the other, as is already happening at the east end of Shadwell:
One station that can't be extended easily is South Quay, which is between two sharp curves. A fancy new station is being constructed slightly further east where the track is straight:
Tower Gateway will also be rebuilt. It currently has a narrow island platform with tracks either side. During a nine month closure starting this June, the entire platform area will be demolished and replaced with a single track with platforms on both sides. Passengers will board from the south platform and leave via the north platform.
The project is being done in stages. Stations from Bank-Lewisham are being done now , though the pictures above show the only visible construction so far. Tower Gateway and the Delta Junction upgrade are being done as part of this phase. Completion is due in October 2009.
Phase 2 begins with the Poplar-Stratford, due for completion in March 2010. The City Airport/Woolwich Arsenal branch was built as three car, but Blackwall and East India Quay will also be extended in December to provide a three car route all the way to Bank. That leaves only the Beckton branch which, although officially part of phase 2, I can find no timetable for it being upgraded, and I don't believe it has funding. Beckton depot is however being expanded to house the extra cars.
TfL have station plans for the Phase 2 upgrades here and there are some dates and other details on page 72 of the most recent board papers. An overview of closures required for the work is here.
[Thanks to diamondgeezer for the last link]