The route through the Isle of Dogs takes the DLR through the very heart of Docklands. This area is the reason for the railway's construction, and has at its centre the Canary Wharf development. When first opened in 1987, the route ran as far as the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs, at Island Gardens. In 1999 the line was extended under the Thames to Greenwich and Lewisham, and the original stations at Mudchute and Tower Gardens were replaced by new stations on a new alignment.
From North Quay Junction, trains run along concrete viaduct, passing through West India Quay station. When first opened the station here was of the same layout as most others, with two platforms serving two tracks. After reconstruction, there are now four tracks, serving two island platforms. The four-track layout continues over West India Dock into Canary Wharf, where a six-track station serves three running lines. The station is set into the Cabot Place shopping and office complex, at the foot of 1 Canada Square, the main Canary Wharf building.
South of Canary Wharf, the railway returns to the original layout—a viaduct over the second of the two West India Docks carries two tracks into Heron Quays. The station here has been rebuilt, reopening in 2002, and is integrated with the surrounding Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers buildings. Another viaduct takes the raiway over South Dock, then through one of the tight curves for which the DLR was originally known, into the elevated South Quay station.
It was at South Quay where, in 1996, an IRA bomb exploded killing 2 men and causing millions of pounds of property damage. The railway was closed for a month.
After South Quay, the DLR viaduct runs alongside Marsh Wall, first crossing from one side of this road to the other. This is an area of low-rise offices, and there is still some redevelopment being carried out. After swinging south, the viaduct ends and an embankment carries the line into Crossharbour station. At this point the railway is once again on the fringes of the redeveloped Docklands commercial district, with office buildings to the west and north, and houses, flats and shops to the east and south. South of Crossharbour there is a reversing siding between the running lines, which is used by some peak-hour services. The next station is Mudchute, a new station built on the site of the original, for the Lewisham extension.
The original DLR route ran from Mudchute along a single-track brick-built former railway viaduct to a terminus at Island Gardens, next to the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames. With the opening of the Lewisham extension, this route was abandoned and replaced with a tunnel under the river which starts at the southern end of Mudchute station. The original Island Gardens station has been demolished, but most of the viaduct stands, being a listed structure.
The tunnel as far as, and including, the new Island Gardens station is cut-and-cover, and south from here under the Thames to Cutty Sark, is in deep tube. On leaving the underground Cutty Sark station, the line runs again in cut-and-cover tunnel before surfacing at Greenwich station.
Greenwich station uses part of the remodelled National Rail station. The southbound (Lewisham) platform has its own entrance, and is linked to the northbound platform, which is one face of an island platform, by a tunnel. After Greenwich station trains take to a viaduct which follows the course of Deptford Creek to a station at Deptford Bridge, straddling the A2. The line drops down to ground level to reach Elverson Road and the terminus at Lewisham.
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