Everyone who is anyone makes a rapid and manic dash to the front of the DLR whenever they catch it. OBVIOUSLY you have to be the one to feel like you’re ‘driving’ the driverless train, which has a clear window allowing you to gaze out full steam ahead.
We all know about the thrill, and now TfL is weighing up the opportunity to indulge our silly little game even more by installing toy steering wheels at the front carriage. All I can see this turning into is grown adults having their dreams crushed by a queue of children to drive the train, and you know what? I’m not mad about it.
TfL will kick things off by trialling the use of vinyl stickers that resemble something like a train control panel on 10 selected trains this month. So, if you’re heading out to Lewisham or London City Airport, be sure to have a glance over to see if the queue for the front seat isn’t too long – maybe you’ll be given the keys to the train. Flick those (pretend) switches and ramp up the ignition on that ‘driving’ fantasy… we’ve reached the big leagues of Train Academy.
As reported in the Guardian, Sadiq Khan answered a question on the very topic by Carolie Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat assembly member, and he said: “TfL will be trialling ‘driving the train’ vinyl stickers across 10 trains in January 2024, and is exploring a number of other customer and community engagement activities to support the introduction of new DLR trains.
“As part of this, TfL will consider how it brings to life the ‘driving the DLR’ experience for children. This could involve cardboard steering wheels. TfL will review learnings from the front seat ‘driving the train’ vinyl sticker trial in early 2024 before finalising plans.”
Keep your eyes peeled for these stickers on your commute home this month. The all-new DLR trains – which also feature breezy air-con, phone-charging ports, upgraded facilities for those with mobility impairments, and a smart turquoise colour scheme – are set to be rolled out later this year, and you can read more about them here.