Latest Rail News


GOBLIN electrification expected to be pushed back further by NR

Electrification work on the London Overground between Gospel Oak and Barking is expected to be delayed even further after Network Rail confirmed earlier this year that work would not be finished on schedule.

Though the infrastructure owner was unable to comment on exactly when works would be complete, TfL director of London Rail Jonathan Fox confirmed that “a number of options are being considered and we will make a more detailed announcement in due course when Network Rail can assure us that plans to complete the delayed works are robust”.

He added: “We continue to work with Network Rail to understand how they will complete the remaining work to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking Line with the absolute minimum further disruption to our customers.”

Work finally began in July last year, and was meant to be finished by the end of next month, but errors, including incorrect designs and late delivery of the masts to carry the power cables, have led to the completion date of the project being pushed back.

The line was closed for six months in September last year to accommodate for the ambitious upgrade, but today’s news may well mean that commuters will have to wait even longer for the work to be completed.

Gospel Oak to Barking line electrification map

Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem member of the London Assembly and leader of its transport committee, said that between TfL and Network Rail something had gone seriously wrong with the electrification of the line.

“This has been increasingly clear for many months. Passengers were promised a year ago that the upgrade work would be finally completed by the end of June 2017,” she explained.

“A year later, Network Rail is now blatantly seeking to use the general election as a fig leaf to cover up their incompetence.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Huguenot   08/05/2017 at 14:43

Not only that. Drilling foundations for the masts hit two sewers -- didn't they know that they were there? Had the electrification been finished on time, however, it would have remained unused (except for electrically-hauled freight) until TfL's order for Class 710 Aventras were delivered in 2018, unless it was prepared to cascade Class 315s from the Shenfield line.

Russ1   08/05/2017 at 19:20

Well they should have. I have the drain plans so there is no reason they shouldn't. There was a stand off for a while while thames water said see you in court. They have milked them on genny pump rental and lorry tankers. Current bill is roughly half a million. Don't blame them at all.

Andrew Gwilt   08/05/2017 at 23:11

That could jeopardise the delivery of the Class 710's Bombardier Aventra's that London Overground have ordered to replace the Class 172's "Turbostar" on the Gospel Oak-Barking route as Class 710's are also to replace the Class 315's and Class 317's EMU's on the Lea Valley metro routes (Liverpool St-Cheshunt, Enfield Town and Chingford services) and Romford-Upminster shuttle service.

Andrew Goffin   09/05/2017 at 12:53

Same story again Nework rail fails to do its homework. This is a repeated failing of NR, and this goes back decades in practice.

David   10/05/2017 at 00:40

Why would it prevent the Class 710s from being built? And there's really not much homework that can be done when the supply chain was sold off in the 90s and pretty much all the documents dating back to the construction of the railways were thrown onto fires.

John Gilbert   10/05/2017 at 00:49

I am sorry to have to say this but Network Rail really couldn't run a whelk stall. Just observe the facts!!

Andrew JG   10/05/2017 at 01:52

If the Class 172's were cascaded from the Gospel Oak-Barking line once the electrification is completed and the Class 710's have been delivered then London Overground could use the Class 172's on the West Ealing-Greenford branch line if necessary. If London Overground may be given the approval to take over the Greenford branch line to replace the Class 166's.

David   10/05/2017 at 11:13

Andrew, London Overground is not taking over the Greenford branch yet, and they definitely won't be using the Class 172s. Eight units is too much for such a short line and it makes far more sense to use GWR or Chiltern Class 165s.

Jerry Alderson   10/05/2017 at 20:45

Re: Network Rail not being able to run a whelk stall. Actualy it could - doing the same thing day in day out with no change is exactly what it IS capable of - not perfectly, but fairly adequately. Signallers make wrong decisions but generally the job is done well. Track is renewed (like-for-like) reliably. And so on. The thing is, doing the day job is easy. Using people, facilities and processes today in exactly the same way as you did yesterday is easy. Everything is proven. It's just a case of repetition. That applies to any organisation. Network Rail is poor (that's being kind) at doing new things. It has problems with estimating, planning, estimate and project management. All organisations have probems in these areas but NR seems to be far worse than most. Or is it just that NR is more high profile so it gets noticed? The $64,000 question is how (if?) NR can be fixed - rather than simply moving around the deckchairs.

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >