Transport for London (TfL) in the UK has issued an Invitation to Negotiate to four pre-qualified bidders for a contract that involves the procurement of 43 new trains for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

The four shortlisted bidders are Alstom Transport UK, Bombardier Transportation, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, and a consortium comprising Siemens, Stadler Bussang and Stadler Rail Valencia SAU.

The companies will now be able to advance to the next stage of the formal procurement process for the new trains.

"These new trains will enable us to increase capacity on the network by up to 30%, significantly improving the comfort, reliability and quality of our service for customers."

TfL’s contract for the design and manufacture of the trains is scheduled to be awarded in the second half of next year, with the vehicles expected to commence services from 2022.

TfL Rail and Sponsored Services director Jonathan Fox said: “This important step in the procurement process brings us closer to delivering the new trains needed to support the continued passenger growth on the DLR, which currently carries 122 million customers a year.

“These new trains will enable us to increase capacity on the network by up to 30%, significantly improving the comfort, reliability and quality of our service for customers.”

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The new trains are intended to replace a number of DLR’s old vehicles, which have been operating for more than 25 years.

They will be equipped with air-conditioning units and mobile device charging points and are expected to offer on-board real-time passenger information to increase the quality of journeys for customers.

In addition, TfL’s latest rolling stock procurement initiative is also expected to support the city’s growth and create new jobs.

The development forms part of the operator’s ongoing programme to enhance transportation services across London.

The DLR currently comprises 56 trains and 38km of track, while serving a total of 45 stations.