New Overground trains for Gospel Oak to Barking line delayed... by three months

The roadworks in Crouch Hill. Picture: Sam Gelder

The roadworks in Crouch Hill. Picture: Sam Gelder - Credit: Archant

New electric trains set to grace the Gospel Oak to Barking line have been delayed by three months – some going, even for London Overground.

The railway bridge in Crouch Hill is being raised. Picture: Sam Gelder

The railway bridge in Crouch Hill is being raised. Picture: Sam Gelder - Credit: Archant

The reopening of Crouch Hill has also been delayed by three days due to the “reinstatement of statutory utility works”. It was due to be clear for traffic on Monday but now Network Rail say it will reopen on Thursday.

The three-month closure was to allow the bridge to be raised so the new electrical cables could run underneath it on the overground line. But the new four-car Bombardier trains the cables are intended for are running three months behind schedule due to delays in carrying out the required testing. Network Rail and TfL are effectively blaming each other for the delay.

Jonathan Fox, TfL’s rail director, said the trains would arrive by “summer”. He said: “The new trains are going through a period of rigorous testing in Derby ahead of them coming to London for driver training before they enter passenger service.”

He added Network Rail were still finishing safety testing on the electrified line and that Bombardier had also experienced delays due to the need for “further software development”.

The delays mean the Class 710 trains will not be in service by the time the summer timetable is rolled out on May 20.

The closure of Crouch Hill has caused chaos for elderly and disabled people who use the W7 bus route that runs along it. They have been left “robbed of their freedom” by the diversion, but calls from the community and council leader Richard Watts for a temporary shuttle service were shot down over the £2,000-a-day cost.

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The works also impacted on local businesses, with physiotherapy firm Wellbeing Centre saying it was having a “massive effect”. “The closures and drilling sound is getting unbearable,” they told the Gazette.

Regarding the Crouch Hill delay, a Network Rail spokeswoman said: “I’d like to apologise for the delay and inconvenience caused.

“I fully appreciate the impact of this work.”