Serco challenged by three rail operators to take over DLR franchise

DLR Tower Gateway

DLR Tower Gateway - Credit: Serco

The operators running the DLR are facing challenges from three consortia when the franchise is renewed next year.

DLR Canary Wharf

DLR Canary Wharf - Credit: Serco

Four companies want to run the automated passenger rail transit system across east London, with its computerised control centre in Poplar, including the present operators Serco.

Their rival bidders announced by Transport for London today are Stagecoach Rail Projects and two joint ventures, one by Keolis and Amey Rail, the other by Go Ahead and Colas Rail.

“These companies have passed the first stage of the rigorous process in issuing a new franchise,” explained DLR’s acting director Rory O’Neill. “The DLR is already a successful railway—but we are not complacent and want to make sure it continues improving.”

TfL is now issuing an ‘Invitation to Tender’ to the shortlisted companies in the next few weeks, the result of the pre-qualification process following a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Conditions for the new franchise due to start in September next year includes expanding passenger capacity to support Docklands development and to reduce the network’s impact on east London’s environment.

The DLR was Britain’s first automatic, driverless-rail network which was opened by the Queen in the summer of 1987, from Tower Gateway in the City to Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs and Stratford. It has since been expanded to London City Airport and Beckton and under the Thames to Lewisham.

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