Unmanned Train: DLR Respond

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 127 months ago
Unmanned Train: DLR Respond

The nice people from Docklands Light Rail have contacted us to respond to our report from a couple of days ago of an unintentionally unmanned DLR train carrying passengers between stations. Here's what they had to say:

The Docklands Light Railway can confirm that on 30 October 2007, at approximately 09:45hrs a train in passenger service departed West India Quay platform 4 without a staff member on board. The train continued to Westferry platform 2 where the train stopped and passengers were able to alight.

A Passenger Service Agent met the train at Westferry station and it continued its journey in passenger service to Bank station.

At no point was the safety of passengers compromised. The DLR Control Centre has the ability to take control of any train on the system during any point of its journey between stations.

The Docklands Light Railway is an automated system. Passenger Service Agents are on board DLR trains to provide information, assistance and to carry out revenue duties.

Fair enough. But best not to make a habit of it, eh?

Last Updated 02 November 2007


I think you're being a little harsh. Why do they even have those guys on the train. What is the point of constructing an automatic train and then not allowing it to work automatically?


I guess that if it was generally considered OK to drive these trains without a staff member, then they would do so all the time (or at least regularly).

And yet, on this occasion, it was quite obviously an accident that the train travelled between stations without a DLR staff member on board - as evidenced by the fact that the train then waited at the next station for 10 minutes, until the PSA turned up, before resuming its journey.

In ten years of using the DLR twice daily, I have never before seen one run unstaffed. If it is indeed OK to run these things without staff onboard, they should be doing it on purpose, and not as a result of a haphazard accident.


DLR trains can run unstaffed, provided the Control Centre knows. The trains can be set to close the doors and continue on its journey without being told by a member of staff to close the doors. When the DLR first opened, they generally did not have a Train Captain, Passenger Service Agent, or any other staff person on board. They were added later primarily to reduce fare evasion and control hooliganism.


That's pretty interesting - I did not know that. Thanks.

However, I stand by my original comment that if a DLR train is to be unstaffed, it should be deliberate - not accidental!