Other options we considered - supplementary information

We believe that an extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Gallions Reach to Beckton Riverside and Thamesmead is the right long-term solution to better connect existing communities and enable the development of these areas.

We looked at a number of other options before coming to our preferred option, and these are set out below.

Enhanced bus services


London Overground

Alternative DLR options

Enhanced bus services

We explored options to increase the number and frequency of bus services in Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside, without a new rail service. Although this would improve links to local town centres and the rail network, this option alone would not provide the level of connectivity or capacity needed to enable the 25,000 to 30,000 planned new homes in the area.


We looked at options to deliver a new tram service between Abbey Wood, Thamesmead, and potentially across the river. This would be similar to existing tram services which operate in South London. Whilst this option would provide a high-quality local service, it would offer a lower level of capacity than our preferred option. A cross-river connection would serve Beckton Riverside and provide greater connectivity, but the cost of building a tram tunnel would likely be similar to our preferred option of a DLR extension, without the benefit of providing a direct link into key employment areas.

London Overground extension options

We assessed a range of options to extend the London Overground from Barking Riverside to Thamesmead and beyond. This would open up new rail connections between parts of north and southeast London and create an outer orbital link across the River Thames. In doing so, these options would connect Thamesmead to National Rail and London Underground services at Barking, and potentially Elizabeth Line and National Rail services in southeast London.

However, services would only operate at around four trains per hour compared with the potential for up to 15 trains per hour in the peak with a DLR extension. This level of service would be less attractive for Thamesmead, whilst Beckton Riverside would not be served at all, and therefore these options would be significantly less effective in supporting new homes. In addition, these services would not connect communities to big employment centres and this benefit is therefore lost. A London Overground extension would also be significantly higher cost than a DLR extension.

Alternative DLR extension options

We assessed alternative DLR extension options, including a shorter extension to Beckton Riverside, onward extensions from Thamesmead to other parts of southeast London, and an alternative route to Thamesmead via the existing Woolwich branch.

Although a DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Beckton Riverside only would be lower cost than an extension across the River Thames, it would not serve Thamesmead. Existing residents of Thamesmead would remain isolated from the rail network, and the delivery of thousands of homes in Thamesmead Waterfront would not take place, given its limited connectivity to the public transport network. There would also not be the wider benefit of a new cross-river connection in east London and the opportunities this would bring.

We also considered potential onward extensions of the DLR from Thamesmead to locations in Bexley, including Belvedere. While beneficial, these longer routes would add significant costs, without delivering significant amounts of additional housing or journey time improvements. This is because these areas are already served by the existing rail network, which provides them with faster routes into central London. Whilst we are not progressing this option at this time, we could design our preferred option so that the line could be extended at a later date.

We also assessed an alternative DLR route to Thamesmead that would extend the Woolwich branch, from either King George V or Woolwich Arsenal stations. This option was not taken forward because it would not support the delivery of new homes at Beckton Riverside. It would also likely cost a similar amount to build as the preferred option, due to the need to build a tunnel to connect to the existing DLR route in Woolwich. This option would also add passengers to a busier part of the DLR network, and potentially reduce services to Woolwich Arsenal.

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