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
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.