Gospel Oak to Barking staff help to create wildflower meadow at Walthamstow Wetlands: Gospel Oak to Barking team work on the Walthamstow Wetlands

Monday 19 Dec 2016

Gospel Oak to Barking staff help to create wildflower meadow at Walthamstow Wetlands

South East

As part of the £133 million project to electrify the railway between Gospel Oak and Barking, Network Rail and its main contractor Murphy have committed to creating a wildflower meadow as part of the new Walthamstow Wetlands.

Network Rail is electrifying the railway between Gospel Oak and Barking to enable the introduction of four-car electric trains from 2018. New trains will be twice as long as well as quieter and greener.

The Walthamstow Wetlands is a project to transform ten functioning reservoirs covering over 200 hectares into a new urban reserve for London. The project is currently under construction, and with the help of specialist teams from Network Rail and Murphy it will include a new wildflower meadow covering 1.3 hectors to help offset any impact from crucial vegetation clearance carried out in order to electrify the railway. 

The teams working on the Gospel Oak to Barking electrification project have already cleared the site earmarked to become a wildflower meadow by removing fly-tipped waste, bramble and buddleia. They will return during the early months of next year to help with the final stage of planting.

Adriaan Bekker, Network Rail environmental manager said: “We’re excited to work with the London Wildlife Trust and Waltham Forest Council to create this unique habitat in an area where it can be managed and protected. We've been working in the area as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, but also wanted to give something back to offset the biodiversity loss of these upgrades. We've already held the first of our volunteering days to prepare the site and will be providing materials as well as technical and project management expertise to make this happen.”

Andres Giannetti, Murphy project director for Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification said: “It was fantastic to see our volunteers helping out with wildflower grassland restoration. Species-rich grasslands are one of our most threatened habitats and improving them is important for the long-term survival of many plants, invertebrates and birds.”


Notes to editors

  • Electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking route is an £133m investment jointly funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
  • The route runs for 14 miles through seven London boroughs.
  • Passenger demand on the route has doubled since 2008 resulting in overcrowding at peak times.
  • For project updates follow @NetworkRailGOBE on Twitter or visit networkrail.co.uk/gobe
  • Fallen trees or too many leaves lead to train delays. They can also obscure signals and signs. For more information on vegetation management for electrified railways visit https://youtu.be/HmA6VB9P87Y
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking route will reopen in late February with the re-introduction of two-car trains. Full benefits of electrification will be felt in early 2018 with the introduction of longer, greener and quieter trains. For more information search London Overground Closure.

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