MAYOR of London Ken Livingstone and UK Transport Minister Karen Buck officially opened the latest extension of the Docklands Light Railway at London City Airport station on December 6.

Services on the 4·4 km branch from Canning Town to King George V had already begun on December 2, adding four stations to the DLR network. Livingstone said the line was 'a vital new transport link which has been delivered on time and on budget. We are now starting to see the benefits of Transport for London's £10bn five-year investment programme'.

The branch has been designed and built at a cost of £142m under a 30-year PFI concession awarded to the City Airport Rail Enterprises joint venture of AMEC and the Royal Bank of Scotland. As Woolwich Arsenal Rail Enterprises Ltd, the same partners are also building a further 2·5 km extension under the Thames to Woolwich Arsenal, which is scheduled to open in early 2009. The same year is expected to see the extension of DLR services north from Canning Town to Stratford International CTRL station and the site of the 2012 Olympic Games with the conversion of part of Network Rail's North London Line.

On November 22 TfL subsidiary Docklands Light Railway Ltd announced that the existing operator, Serco Docklands Ltd, had been selected as preferred bidder for the next seven-year operating contract, which is due to start on April 1 2006. The £400m franchise agreement was due to be signed by the end of 2005.

  • A five-day closure of London Underground's Jubilee Line between December 25 and 30 has been agreed, to enable PPP contractor Tube Lines to extend the trains from six to seven cars and reconfigure the platform screen doors. The addition of 59 Alstom-built trailer cars and four complete seven-car trainsets is to be completed by the end of January, increasing line capacity by 17%. Testing of the first seven-car set in traffic hours began on November 19.