Millions of people use the London Underground, DLR and rail network each year, and since 1995, Thales has played a major role in ensuring the efficiency of these networks for commuters. Take the DLR for example. It first opened in 1987 as a driver-less system with only 15 stations, 13 kilometres of track and 17 million commuters. However, in 2010, as the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games approached, improvements were needed to support the increase in travellers.

Enter SelTrac: Thales’ service-proven solution that supports everything from speed and signal supervision through to fully automated operation without a driver. As part of a multi-million pound upgrade project, our teams in the UK and Canada worked closely with the DLR to supply and integrate the SelTrac communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling system. Platforms were extended, and tracks and infrastructure were also upgraded to accommodate the change from two to three-car services.

The upgrades resulted in safe, reliable services, plus a 50% increase in capacity on the DLR – SelTrac will also be operational across 60% of the London Underground network by 2022. On the busiest days during the games, the DLR carried in excess of 500,000 people and, in 2013, more than 100 million people used the system. It just goes to show, there’s no harm in having a one-track mind for excellence.

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