More misery for rail passengers

London Overground route to close again – and reopen next year

Construction workers at Blackhorse Road Station

Construction workers at Blackhorse Road Station

A railway line through Waltham Forest will close for another two months in order to complete work originally due to finish last February.

The London Overground line between Gospel Oak and Barking serves four railway stations in the borough and is a key commuter route used by 7,000 passengers in Waltham Forest daily. It was closed when Network Rail began electrification work in June 2016, aiming to double its capacity by allowing for longer trains.

But Network Rail admitted after the line reopened in February that there had been problems with the upgrade that meant it would need to be closed again this year to complete the work. It was revealed that mishaps had included damaging a sewer pipe and ‘incorrectly designed’ new overhead lines that couldn’t be installed at the planned locations.

To complete the work, weekend closures of the line took place over the past summer and a full closure took place over a month between September and October. Network Rail then announced it had reached “a major milestone” in the electrification project as more than half of the new electrical wire needed had been installed.

The next closure, to finally complete the work, will now commence from 6.30pm on Saturday 18th November, with trains not running again until Sunday 14th January. Staff from Network Rail, Transport for London and Arriva Rail London, the operator of London Overground, will be available to answer passengers’ questions on Wednesday 1st November at Blackhorse Road and Walthamstow Queen’s Road stations, and on Thursday 2nd November at Leytonstone High Road Station.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “I’d like to thank our railway neighbours and passengers for their continued patience while we work round the clock to electrify this popular route.

“The Gospel Oak to Barking line is set to benefit from a transformational, once-in-a-generation upgrade with a new fleet of longer, electric trains so that twice as many people can travel comfortably.”

New four-carriage electric trains are due to begin service from spring 2018, but no exact date has been given.

For more information on the planned London Overground closure: