Vital work paves the way for cleaner, quieter and longer trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line: NetworkRail Static 4Carriages 01

Monday 1 Feb 2016

Vital work paves the way for cleaner, quieter and longer trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line

Region & Route:
South East

Passengers and residents across north and east London are set to benefit from a major upgrade to the London Overground route between Gospel Oak and Barking as part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan.

  • Journeys on the route to be improved and capacity doubled with new four-carriage electric trains from early 2018
  • Investment in longer platforms and improvements to stations along the route
  • Work to install new infrastructure will require a phased programme of closures from June this year

The £130m+ scheme will electrify the line ready for a new fleet of cleaner, quieter and longer trains which will ease congestion and improve air quality.

Network Rail is delivering the project, which is being funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL). The project will see TfL introduce new four-carriage electric trains to replace the existing two-carriage diesel trains from January 2018, helping to meet growing passenger demand. 

A short summary video of the project:

Hundreds of thousands of people living close to the line – which covers 14 miles and runs through six London boroughs – will also benefit from a reduction in CO2 emissions from the railway.

In order to electrify the railway, overhead wires and structures to support them need to be installed as well as the construction of three new switching stations. To make room for this new infrastructure, four sections of the track will be lowered, four bridges will be rebuilt and a further six modernised. TfL will also be investing in lengthening the platforms and enhancing stations to accommodate the longer trains. Network Rail has already started work on the foundations for the structures that will carry the overhead wires. 

Due to the scale and complex nature of the work a phased eight month closure of the line is necessary, starting in June 2016. This consists of a part closure from early June to late September 2016 with trains running between Gospel Oak and South Tottenham during weekdays, and a full closure of the line from October 2016 to early February 2017. TfL will be providing rail replacement buses which will operate along the route. 

Network Rail’s route managing director, Richard Schofield, said: 

“This is a vital project to keep pace with continued growing demand for rail. This investment will transform the service on this route, doubling capacity with cleaner, quieter electric trains and is a key element of the Railway Upgrade Plan."

Mike Stubbs, TfL’s Director of London Overground, said: 

“Customers along the line will reap the benefits when work to electrify the route is complete. It will allow for new longer walk-through trains to operate from January 2018, which will double capacity to meet growing demand on the route. It will also enable a new rail extension to Barking Riverside, which will support up to 11,000 new homes.

“We recognise that eight months is an extensive disruption for our customers, but this is minimised for the first four months by being a partial closure during the week, followed then by a full line closure. We continue to work with Network Rail to see if the timescales they set out can be reduced.”

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: 

“We are investing record amounts in transforming our rail network, and when this major work completes, passengers will benefit from better journeys on less congested, cleaner and quieter trains.

“In the short term there will be disruption, but Network Rail and TfL are doing all they can to keep passengers informed and ensure any inconvenience is kept to a minimum. I’d like to thank passengers and residents for their patience, and I am looking forward to seeing these improvements delivered.”

From June to September 2016, there will be no service between South Tottenham and Barking on weekdays and no service between Gospel Oak and Barking on weekends. From late September 2016 until early February 2017 there will be no service on the entire line between Gospel Oak and Barking. Further works to have the line ready for electric trains will take place during evenings and weekends only and will be completed by the end of June 2017.

Transport for London (TfL) will provide detailed advice to help get customers around throughout the closure. Information will be made available via email alerts, Twitter @LDNOverground, posters and announcements in stations.


Notes to Editors: 

  • Following the closure, Network Rail will carry outfour months of commissioning works before the line is fully electrified. During this time the existing diesel trains will run and will be replaced with new four carriage trains from January 2018.
  • For more information on changes to journeys between Gospel Oak to Barking, please visit TfL journey planner
  • Railway neighbours who would like more information on how the work will impact their home can call Network Rail’s helpline on 0345 7 11 41 41or visit
  • More information on work carried out by Network Rail on this route can also be found at
  • Follow Network Rail’s progress on Twitter @NetworkRailGOBE
  • TfL is proposing to extend the London Overground to Barking Riverside and Old Oak Common as part its vision of creating better rail services in London to meet the needs of the city’s rapidly growing population and to support new jobs, homes and economic growth.


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 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.

@networkrailPR #BetterRailway



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

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 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. 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.

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