Awards, contracts & appointments

05.03.19

TfL to reduce services on London Overground line after delays to new trains strike again

London Overground services between Gospel Oak and Barking will be forced to operate reduced services every 30 minutes after TfL revealed that new Class 710 electric trains were still not ready for passenger use.

The trains, originally due to be in service in spring last year, have been hit by a series of delays, the latest of which came in January when Bombardier delayed the delivery of the new units indefinitely.

TfL was forced to bring in modified electric trains as a “temporary solution” for the new delayed rolling stock, with the modified units operating alongside the current diesel trains to ensure the line would remain open.

Whilst TfL has twice extended the lease on the diesel trains since last summer, they now need to be released for use elsewhere in the country.

This means only three four-car trains will be available for use, and therefore a reduced half-hourly frequency will be temporarily be in place on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.

Bombardier said it was continuing to solve software issues and complete mileage testing before the trains could be handed over for passenger use, and also reiterated a previous statement acknowledging passenger’s frustrations and promising a month’s free travel when the trains are introduced.

TfL stressed that the manufacturer was being pressed to do everything they can to deliver a fully operating train as soon as possible to end the disruption on the line.

In the meantime, trains will service stations at regular 30-minute intervals and supplementary buses will also be available from the 18 March.

Jon Fox, TfL's director of rail and sponsored services, said: “We are very sorry for the continuing delay to the introduction of the new fleet of electric trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line and share our customers' frustration.

“Regrettably, despite our efforts, we need to release the last three diesel trains currently being used on the line. So, from Monday 18 March we will need to temporarily reduce the weekday service to a half-hourly service.

“We strongly advise customers to check before they travel and re-time their journeys where possible to avoid disruption.”

The trains were originally due in spring 2018, but this pushed back until the summer and then again until November.

Since then, a date for their introduction has not been given and, prior to today’s announcement, a campaign group claimed the service was “on a knife edge” due to delays, cancellations and overcrowding.

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