VIDEO: work to electrify railway between Gospel Oak and Barking 80% complete: Gospel Oak to Barking structure installation

Thursday 1 Dec 2016

VIDEO: work to electrify railway between Gospel Oak and Barking 80% complete

South East

Work to electrify the last London Overground route is 80% complete, a key milestone in the £133m upgrade to the railway between Gospel Oak and Barking, which will see two car diesel trains replaced with four car electric trains from 2018.

Engineers have spent the last five months lowering over three miles of track at five sites between Gospel Oak and Barking, to make way for new masts that will carry overhead wires to power new electric trains. Video footage has captured some of the work taking place along the route.

Work completed includes:

  • 1,700 metres of track lowered through the heart of Walthamstow from Pretoria Avenue (close to Blackhorse Road Station) to Queens Road (just beyond Walthamstow Queens Road Station)
  • Lowering the whole of Walthamstow Queens Road Station including platforms, ramps and stairs
  • Working against the clock to lower track between Gospel Oak and Upper Holloway during the October half term, as not to disrupt a local schools
  • Lowering the railway through a Victorian tunnel between Crouch Hill and Harringay Green Lanes
  • Connecting the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the East Coast Main Line to provide an additional route for electrified freight traveling between the lines
  • The first overhead wires were installed at Barking in mid-November


Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “At 80 per cent complete, it won’t be long until the last diesel operated London Overground route is electrified, helping to meet growing passenger demand as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan. We’re now focused on installing the overhead line and power switching stations so that we can reopen the route next year. I’d like to thank everyone for their continued patience while the work is carried out.”

Engineers are now focused on installing over 100km of overhead wires and over 600 structures to support them, and three power switching stations to power new trains. The two-car diesel trains will return once the project is complete in February next year, until the new electric trains arrive in 2018.

Passengers and residents across north and east London will benefit from the work to electrify the route, which is part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan, and includes:

  • The introduction of new longer electric trains from 2018 with twice as much space
  • Hundreds of thousands of people living close to the line – which covers 14 miles and runs through seven London boroughs – will also benefit from a reduction in CO2emissions from the railway.

Network Rail is delivering the project, which is being funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL). J Murphy & Sons is the main contractor.

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

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Katie Mack
Media relations manager (Anglia route)
020 3356 2515

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.

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