Another setback for railway as new trains delayed

Delay comes following belated completion of electrification work

New London Overground trains

New class 710 electric trains at the Bombardier factory in Derby, which will be used on the London Overground (credit @RidingtheGoblin)

New electric trains that will double the capacity of a London Overground line through Waltham Forest have been delayed.

Transport for London (TfL) says the four-carriage trains have yet to be delivered by manufacturer Bombardier because of a “software” problem, but did not give a date for their arrival.

The latest in a series of setbacks for the Gospel Oak to Barking line means passengers are still waiting for the long-awaited electrification upgrade to be completed – two years after it began.

Jonathan Fox, TfL’s director for rail, said: “We are very keen to see our new London Overground trains in service on the Gospel Oak to Barking line as soon as possible, especially as our customers have been very patient while the electrification works by Network Rail have been taking place.

“Network Rail is still finalising the necessary safety testing for the newly electrified line to allow the new trains to operate. The delivery of the new trains has also been delayed slightly by Bombardier due to the need for further software development.

“We continue to work closely with Bombardier Transportation and Network Rail with new trains expected to enter service later this summer.”

Network Rail apologised last year after failing to complete its initial engineering works to adapt the line for electric trains within the original eight-month schedule, following a series of mishaps that included severed sewers and incorrectly designed power lines.

Network Rail then apologised again this year after new lifts at Blackhorse Road Station were delayed because of problems with the fire alarm system.

The upgrade to the line, which serves four stations in the borough, was first announced in 2013 and was originally expected to cost taxpayers £133million – but is now expected to cost substantially more than that.

Glenn Wallis, secretary of the Gospel Oak to Barking Rail Users Group, told the Echo: “The main problem is Crossrail – they have to make sure it is ready by December. As usual, we are bottom of the queue. There shouldn’t really be any problems but all of the effort is going into making sure the Crossrail trains work.

“Our worry is that they’ve already signed a contract to for our existing diesel trains to operate between Coventry and Nuneaton – so what happens if the electric trains aren’t ready in time?”