Tuesday 7 Feb 2017
London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking route to reopen on Monday 27 February but further work is required
The London Overground line between Gospel Oak and Barking will reopen to passengers on Monday 27 February, following a phased eight-month closure to electrify the route. However the installation of all of the overhead wires has not been completed on time and more work is required.
Network Rail set about modernising the old Victorian infrastructure in June 2016, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan and the work was due to be completed at the end of February. Along the 14-mile route, a number of the structures, which carry the overhead lines, were incorrectly designed and couldn’t be installed at the planned locations. Late delivery of materials and structures also led to further delays.
A robust plan is being put in place by Network Rail to complete the work before the new electric trains arrive in early 2018. Further closures will be required over a series of weekends and will likely involve another full closure for a period of time later in the year. A schedule is being finalised and will be published as soon as possible.
The work will not affect the reopening of the line to diesel trains, as planned, on Monday 27 February.
Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, Richard Schofield, said: “I sincerely apologise to passengers that we have not been able to complete all of the work in the time we set out, and for the future disruption we will cause to their journeys. I have instructed the project team to quickly deliver a robust plan to finish the work before new trains arrive next year, and passengers can be reassured that the line will reopen later this month to diesel trains as planned. A full review into what went wrong has already begun.
“I recognise also that we will further inconvenience those living next to the railway line, I apologise and thank them for their continued patience while we complete our work to enable new electric trains to run next year.”
The upgrade will enable four carriage electric trains, which are currently being built by Bombardier, to operate along the route from early 2018, doubling capacity and replacing the existing two carriage diesel trains. Those living along the route will also benefit from cleaner air quality as a result of the switch from diesel to electric trains with reduced CO2 emissions.
Five sections of track have been lowered between Walthamstow Queens Road and Gospel Oak stations, to create space for overhead wires and the structures that carry them. Ten bridges have been reconstructed or strengthened along the route that runs through seven London boroughs, and three electrical switching stations have been constructed.
Network Rail is delivering the project, which is funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL).
Notes to editors:
About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.