Above: Helicopter view about 1988, looking down on the DLR crossing the old West India Docks. Heron Quays DLR Station is near the bottom of the view with the Heron Quays development bottom left. The beginnings of Canary Wharf DLR Station is on the central strip of land. A few dockside cranes are to be seen, which were removed later. Near the top of the view is West India Quay DLR Station.
When the DLR was opened, there was no station at Canary Wharf but the single-carriage trains used to stop at that site anyway. In the early days of the railway, the train captain would explain to passengers that the pause was because the software running the computer operated railway had a built-in stop for when the station eventually opened. All that sounds ridiculous today but that was the original state of affairs. As can be seen from the low-quality picture, the land on which the Canary Wharf Tower was constructed was open in 1988.
Construction of Canary Wharf Tower started in 1988. The 853 feet (260 metres) tower took just three years to erect and it was completed by 1991. The first tenants moved in during that same year. Along with the tower, the western part of today’s long shopping mall also opened.
Canary Wharf DLR Station was constructed with several platforms for interchanging trains. The most dramatic feature of the station is the glass roof which looks impressive not only from the platforms but also when views from a distance. The classic design was intended to pay tribute to the graceful arches over Victorian mainline railway termini.
Above: Looking south on the Lewisham-bound platform of today’s Canary Wharf DLR Station.
What started as a deserted piece of land in the late 1980s has become one of the busiest DLR stations on the network. The DLR station was followed by the construction of the Canary Wharf Underground Station, on the Jubilee Line. In addition, the new building for the Canary Wharf Crossrail Station is already completed and we await the opening of the new Elizabeth Line trains at the platforms. The interchange of the three railway lines involves some walking. Passengers on the DLR are advised to alight at Heron Quays DLR Station to reach the underground station. It will be an even greater trek to walk from the Elizabeth Line station to the other two.