The first step was to discuss and pass on the operational and reliability knowledge from DLR’s operator to our train manufacturer. This was the longest phase but was in line with the great saying of 'measure twice cut once'. To help with the understanding of the first concepts, the manufacturer’s team of specialists created 3D models, which really helped show how every component of the vehicle would fit and work.
As the vehicle is quite a complex device, each system had to be looked at in detail, with some of the major components reviewed several times.
Once the concepts and requirements became clearer, component parts went through a process known as the First Article Inspection (FAI). This allowed everyone involved to get their hands on the components and see what they looked like as individual parts. After several FAIs, the first prototype vehicles were assembled.
The manufacturer created a test track at its factory to test the new vehicles. This process showed that some minor changes needed to be made, and so the vehicles were retested.
Once the vehicles were given the green light, they were delivered to London and put through their paces on the DLR network outside of passenger service, from
This process has now been completed on the first train, which has entered passenger service and is mingling with the existing fleet for a trial period.
Up and running
The amount of time and effort that the DLR, our operator and the manufacture have put into this project can be seen in the new vehicles. A lot of precise details have been considered late into the night and I have learnt a lot of new acronyms!
It is good to see the first of the new rail cars running well and we are now focussing on getting the full fleet of 55 new ones into passenger service. While the vehicles will be initially used to form our current two-car trains, they will eventually be used to form longer three-car trains from 2010.
I think the vehicles will be great London ambassadors during 2012 and I look forward to them taking us and the world to the Games!