When it comes to London public transport, many will firstly think of red buses, black cabs and of course, the underground. These forms of public transport are perfectly fine for most of the tourists. Many of them don’t even know, that there’s another way of getting around some parts of London. And that’s automated light railway system called DLR.
The Docklands Light Railway opened in year 1987 with its main purpose to connect redeveloped part of London named “Docklands”. With its automated trains, you can reach north to Stratford, south to Lewisham, the trains can take you to Tower Gateway and Bank stations in center of City of London but you can also go west to Beckton and Woolwich Arsenal and even catch a direct connection to London City Airport. The DLR system is currently 40km long and has 45 stations. Most of the stations are above street level. The only exceptions are Bank, Island Gardens, Cuty Sark and Woolwich Arsenal.
The trains are completely automated and controlled by computers, which means they don’t need a driver. There are also no staff on stations, exceptions being all the underground stations mentioned above, some more busy interchanges and London City Airport. The only regular “passengers” on DLR are PSA agents who control the tickets, make the announcements and can in worst case scenario take over control of the train.
DLR uses the same tickets as The London underground or bus. So your Oyster card, that you used to get around London can also be used on these trains. The zoning system is also the same, the further you go, the more you pay. In contrast to the underground, there are no physical barriers on DLR stations. Under every station, there are card readers where you touch in and out with your Oyster card. They are sometimes kind of hard to find and can be easily forgotten. Thinking of riding for free? Don’t! As mentioned already, PSA agents are regulars on these trains. Penalty for riding without a ticket is 80£.
You can ride on DLR between 5.30AM and 12.30AM from Monday to Saturday and between 7.00AM and 11.30PM on Sunday.
More important and interesting locations for tourists on DLR line are Greenwich (Meridian Line, Cutty Sark, Royal Museums), Canary Wharf, Tower of London, Emirates Air Line and Stratford (Olypmic Park and shopping).