I visited Canary Wharf and surrounding area in late 2021, as it has more than its fair share of railway transport systems. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Overground, Underground and soon Elizabeth line all serve this or the very immediate area. Her in this blog is a short overview of these. It is by no where a comprehensive look, but hopefully will get you the reader to perhaps go and explore these for yourself.
DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY (DLR)
The concept of the DLR was first discussed around 1982 when the docklands area were being readied for redevelopment.
Construction of the first two lines, one from Tower Gateway to Island Gardens and from Stratford to Island Gardens were started in 1985. They both opened in 1987, and over the next 20 years more lines were added as the docklands expanded.
The railway is entirely automated, enabling those at the front or rear of the train to get an unobstructed view of the track, which can be quite entertaining. There is however a control desk at either end of the train, so that the train can be driven manually in the event of a automation failure.
New trains are due to be in service by 2023, and look the same as the current stock, albeit with a more streamlined look and less boxy.
Located on the Abbey Wood branch of the Elizabeth line, the station has been built on the West India North dock. This has been achieved using a cofferdam, which is an enclosure built in the water and then pumped out to create a dry space for construction below the waterline. This picture, taken before official opening and therefore not of the actual station concourse, show that it is a great feat of engineering and very pleasing to the eye.
The excellent roof garden on top of the station building is a very clam place to spend some time, and it is amazing that such a structure should have such a pleasant area sitting on top of it. I recommend a visit to here, it really is something special.
Connecting one half of the station is a walkway (pictures below). The geometric shapes on the walls of this were added in 2020, and designed by French artist Camille WALALA. It is intended to be a permanent installation, and certainly makes what would otherwise be a plain steel walkway into something Instagram worthy.
This is to be one of two entrances to the Elizabeth line, one either side of the dock, and alongside it are many bars, restaurants and cafes for you to enjoy.
Walking through this walkway and shopping centre will get you to the area called Middle dock. A fantastic space, and one where you can gain excellent views of the buildings, and of course the DLR.
JUBILEE LINE UNDERGROUND STATION
In Middle dock, you cannot fail to see the spectacular entrance to the London Underground Jubilee line. Covered in grass, it is almost impossible to see from the air. The escalators move you down into a cavernous space, very unique across the London underground network.
The concourse is huge, and is certainly able to take the large amount of passengers using the station at peak times. The high ceilings all around add to the sense of space.
Moving down to the platforms, and you will find these are also a very good size, and the overall feel is that of a safe and very efficient underground station.
If we now hop on a train and go one stop westbound, you will get to Canada Water station.
At Canada Water you will find a sub level platform for the Overground line. This will take you North and South in London, and as such complements the East/West alignment of the Jubilee line.
Both stations, like most on the jubilee line, are spacious and industrial in feel, with steel everywhere, and I personally like it very much, although I get it is not to everyone’s taste. My personal favourite of the Jubilee line stations is Westminster, but that is for another blog!
As spectacular as it is during the daytime, the Canary wharf area dazzles at night. Fantastic photography can be had, and here are a few of my favourites that I took on this trip:
Canary Wharf and immediate area is well worth a visit. It certainly is looks the part with its many high rise buildings, and getting here is no problem with the amount of rail travel routes you can take. I would recommend coming late afternoon so that you will get the benefit of day and night time views, i am sure that you will not be disappointed.
I filmed a vlog for this visit, and this can be seen below :