Finally! High-tech electric Overground trains to be introduced this year
PUBLISHED: 11:49 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 20 June 2018
After months of delays, disruption and the dreaded rail replacement bus, commutes are finally set to get better for London Overground passengers.
Featuring WiFi, USB charging points and air conditioning, the new four-carriage fleet will be introduced to the Barking to Gospel Oak like by November - almost 18 months later than planned.
The state-of-the-art four car trains will double capacity on the route, allowing almost 700 passengers to travel on each one.
The walkthrough layout is also set to improve accessibility by creating more spaces for wheelchair users.
The 54-strong fleet, known as Class 710, is being built at Bombardier Transport’s site in Derby, with an initial eight trains being introduced to the Barking to Gospel Oak line later this year.
Subsequent roll-outs will see them brought onto other routes, including those out of London Liverpool Street to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town - replacing trains which have been used for more than 35 years.
The new trains, which are electric rather than diesel, will also be used on the extension to Barking Riverside when it opens, expected to be in 2021.
Jonathan Fox, TfL’s director of rail and sponsored services, said: “Our new state-of-the-art London Overground trains will be an exciting addition to London’s transport network and help boost capacity on some of the most busy and popular lines.
“We are very keen to see them introduced into service as soon as possible.”
He added: “Over the summer, the new trains will undergo final rigorous testing and drivers will complete extensive training.
“We are now planning for the first trains to enter passenger service on the Gospel Oak to Barking route by November.”
Preparing the line for the new trains has not been without its problems, with passengers disrupted by regular weekend closures as well as others that shut the route for several weeks at a time.
It was closed between June 2016 and February 2017 for electrification work to be carried out, but delays meant that further line closures were necessary to complete it.
This meant that planned roll-out date for the new electric trains - last summer - could not be met.