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Gospel Oak to Barking line reopens to delight of Islington commuters

PUBLISHED: 10:09 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 15 January 2018

Electric wires have been installed in preparation for the new trains. Picture: Network Rail

Electric wires have been installed in preparation for the new trains. Picture: Network Rail

Archant

An end is finally in sight after two years of closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground line, which has reopened today for what commuters hope is the last time.

Network Rail workers have spent the last two months installing overhead electric lines in preparation for the state-of-the-art electric trains that will start running in “spring” on the line passing through Crouch Hill and Upper Holloway.

The works were also the reason the line was closed between September 17 and October 22 – and the same reason it was shut from June 2016 until the end of February last year.

During the eight-month closure, an engineering design gaffe by Network Rail meant the structures that carry overhead wires necessary to upgrade the 14-mile line were “incorrectly designed” and could not be installed. Materials were also delivered late, which amplified the delay.

Testing will now be done to ensure the smooth running of the new four-carriage trains, which will improve air quality and have a bigger capacity, air conditioning, information screens and, crucially, improved reliability.

Jonathan Fox, TfL’s rail chief, said: “I welcome the return of services and would like to thank customers for their patience while Network Rail completed this stage of the electrification works.”

One weekend closure will take place on April 7 and 8 while Network Rail raise the Crouch Hill bridge.

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