Limehouse Gate Confusion

Limehouse has two stations adjacent to each other. One is a DLR station and the other is on the c2c line from Fenchurch Street. Both stations have stairs/lifts down to a concourse with validators at the bottom from the DLR station and a gateline leading from the c2c station. So far it is all straightforward.

There is also a small link bridge between the Fenchurch Street bound c2c platform and the Poplar/Canary Wharf bound DLR platform. As you can see in the first picture there are a set of gates leading from the c2c platform.  Immediately behind those gates is a large sign welcoming you to the DLR.  I’d say it is a pretty reasonable assumption to make that once you’ve gone through those gates you have just entered (or touched in to) the DLR station.  Sadly you haven’t; you’ve actually just exited (or touched out from) the c2c station.

If your c2c journey started from Grays or Upminster or nearer (within the Oyster area) then you will probably be using Oyster or contactless and this is not a problem (yet).  But if you started from further out using a c2c ticket you’ll end an unstarted journey if you use your Oyster or contactless card to operate the gates.  This is exactly what a forum user did when instead of their usual Tilbury to Fenchurch Street journey (with a season ticket) they needed to go to Westferry.

At the other end of the link bridge you’ll find a couple of validators, as in the second picture. The experienced will realise that you need to touch in using those validators to signal actual entry to the DLR station.  But if you think you’ve already entered the DLR you may well not bother.  After all, plenty of other stations have additional validators on platforms which you don’t touch if you’ve just come through a gateline.  This is when it becomes an issue for all users because you are then travelling on the DLR without a validated Oyster or contactless card, and could become liable for a penalty fare.

Our forum user then went to Westferry and touched out on the validators there, but because they were out of the system it started a new journey which wouldn’t be finished.  So instead of a £1.70 peak single on the DLR they were charged £17.20 for two incomplete journeys.  Ouch!

This is where things get a little disappointing.  They called the helpdesk to ask what was wrong, but the helpdesk couldn’t explain the issue. At first they were happy to refund the extra charges, but after a few instances they suddenly announced that they would no longer agree to a refund.  The user came here for advice and before reaching the end of their post I knew exactly what was likely to have happened.  Thankfully they now understand what they need to do so in future they’ll only be charged £1.70.

The sensible thing to do would be to remove both the gates and validators from this link bridge and instead install gates downstairs from the DLR platforms.  This would be similar to the arrangement at Woolwich Arsenal.  Sadly, Covid depleted finances mean this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

2 thoughts on “Limehouse Gate Confusion”

  1. Re Oyster/Contactless users going from C2C -> DLR, I was wondering whether Continuation Exit on the link bridge gates could potentially solve this. It would risk bringing its own headaches regarding validator behaviour and time limits as touching on the DLR validator would replicate the exit; but these could also be set to Continuation Exit. The only thing is I’m not sure what the behaviour of that would be with a later validator touch at another station.

    For Oyster/Contactless users this problem can’t occur in the DLR -> C2C direction, because the gates are set to Continuation Entry.

    I think the cheap fix I would go for is changing the “Welcome to the DLR” sign to instead say “You are now leaving National Rail”; and move the “Welcome to DLR” sign to the end of the bridge next to the validators. This would make it clearer that the bridge is no-man’s-land.

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