Glenn Wallis from Barking-Gospel Oak Rail Users’ Group on the latest progress with the line’s electrification work
The London Overground line between Barking and Gospel Oak is currently closed for the third extended period since Network Rail started electrification work in late 2015.
The government-owned rail infrastructure company is confident that it will complete installing the electrical overhead line equipment on the route – which stops at four stations in Waltham Forest – by Sunday 14th January. However, the old two-carriage diesel trains will return to service the next day.
This is because Network Rail will still have to test and get the new electrical infrastructure formally approved before ordinary electric trains can be allowed to use it. Approval is expected during March 2018. There may be some further weekend closures until the overhead lines are ready for service and later in spring 2018 there will also be bridgeworks at Crouch Hill, probably over the Easter holiday period.
As soon as London Overground can start running the new electric trains over the Barking–Gospel Oak route, there will be a short period of driver training and then the trains will enter passenger service. Transport for London (TfL) have told the Barking-Gospel Oak Rail Users’ Group (BGORUG) that the new electric trains will start carrying passengers ‘as soon as possible’ and there may be a period with both two-car diesel and four-car electric trains in service together until all the new trains are available.
The late evening timetable will be improved from Monday 15th January, with trains running three times per hour after 10pm instead of every half-hour as previously. However, it is intended to withdraw the peak period relief trains from May 2018, leaving a 15-minute interval daytime service until 10pm.
Network Rail has also assured TfL that the lifts between the ticket hall and the London Overground platforms at Blackhorse Road Station will be available for use when the line reopens.