Abbey Wood station
Greenwich councillors have pushed for a DLR link to Abbey Wood station

Transport for London has said is open to extending the Docklands Light Railway to Abbey Wood once its route to Thamesmead is built.

A long-awaited extension of the DLR’s Beckton branch across the river to Thamesmead is being planned by TfL to serve major new developments planned for Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead Waterfront.

Last week, 853 reported that Greenwich councillors had pressed TfL to take the extension on to Abbey Wood to connect with Crossrail and National Rail trains to north Kent.

Although TfL is currently reliant on short-term government funds, holding up major projects such as the Thamesmead extension, councillors heard last week that it has been in talks with Homes England, a government funding body, about the extension.

TfL head of projects Matthew Yates told the trade website New Civil Engineer that the extension was being designed with an extension to Abbey Wood in mind.

“Extending the DLR to support the development of between 20,000 to 30,000 new homes in Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead is currently being investigated,” he said. This design work is well underway and funding models are under consideration, although it is clear that third party developer funding and certainty over government funding support for TfL will also be essential.

“The route is being designed with consideration of a potential onward extension to Abbey Wood, which could be subject to its own business case at a later date.”

An extension to Thamesmead could be built by 2030 at a cost of £800 million, but would need outside funding.

Woolwich Common councillor David Gardner, who raised the issue last Thursday, told the website that the extension could be paid for using the same model that funded the Battersea Power Station link on the Northern Line: a government loan to be paid back by increased business rates and money from local developers.

Bexley Council revealed earlier this week that it is backing proposals to extend Crossrail east from Abbey Wood to Gravesend, using existing track and an interchange at Northfleet for Ebbsfleet International. Eight trains an hour would run on the extension, with four terminating at Northfleet and four at Gravesend.

Alternative proposals involving separate tracks to Gravesend or a bus rapid transit link were dropped by Bexley, Dartford and Gravesham councils, which are jointly pushing for the extension.

“This scheme would best meet the scheme objectives set out by the Government as well as wider Government priorities. It also has strong potential to address the challenges faced by the corridor, as well as providing the best value for money,” Bexley leader Teresa O’Neill said in a report to councillors at last night’s full council meeting.

The proposals have now been submitted to the government.

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