FOLLOWING the completion of the public enquiry process in November, London’s Docklands Light Railway has invited proposals for a concession to design, build and maintain a 4·4 km branch from Canning Town to London City Airport and North Woolwich. Prequalification bids are due by January 12, and the aim is to start construction in 2002.

This would see the line and four stations opening in 2004, coinciding with the end of the present operating concession awarded to Serco Docklands Ltd which runs for seven years from April 1997. Provision will be made for a fifth station on the branch, and for a cross-river extension to Woolwich Arsenal, which would be built by 2006-07.

On November 22 DLR celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of its privately-financed Lewisham extension. This has helped to boost annual ridership to 35 million, compared to 8·3 million in 1992-93, and Transport for London is forecasting a figure of 60 million by 2004.

To handle the extra traffic, DLR has ordered a further 12 articulated vehicles from Bombardier at a cost of £14m. The deal is an option on the January 2000 order for 12 cars which are now under construction in Brugge. Delivery of the extra cars is envisaged to run from January to March 2002. n