The Anonymous Widower

London Overground’s New Class 710 Trains

The Aventra trains on order for the London Overground have now been given a number and are now Class 710 trains.

Wikipedia says this about the trains.

The units will be delivered in two sub-classes; an AC only version with longitudinal and transverse seating (very similar to the S8 units on the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground) for use on the West Anglia and Romford-Upminster services, and a dual-voltage version with longitudinal seating for the Watford DC and GOBLIN services. The AC only version will be maintained at Ilford TMD and the dual-voltage units at Willesden TMD.

So it appears that the trains used on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be dual voltage, despite there being no existing or planned third-rail electrification on that line.

It did at first strike me as surprising, but then I suspect that it is nothing more sinister than prudent future-proofing, with perhaps some manufacturing and maintenance convenience.

It has to be noted that North London Line services between Stratford and Richmond, use dual-voltage trains.

There has been talk over the years about the extension of the GOBlin at both ends. Only the short extension to Barking Riverside is being taken forward.

For instance, in Transport for London’s London Infrastructure Plan for 2050, this map of lines around Old Oak Common station is shown.

Lines Radiating From Old Oak Common Station

Lines Radiating From Old Oak Common Station

Note the various extensions all centred on the development area of Old Oak Common, that will be even more important if it has an HS2 station.

Could the future-proofing of specifying dual voltage trains, be in case they want to extend services through Gospel Oak onto the North London Line, to Balham, Hounslow and Richmond? All three destinations are deep in third-rail territory.

Dual voltage trains would also be needed, if GOBlin services went to Watford, but not for the extension to Brent Cross – Cricklewood.

In some ways, the interesting extension to the Overground is to Balham, which is a proposed Crossrail 2 station.

At the moment the service on the West London Line is crowded and probably doesn’t have enough capacity. The service is at present.

  • Two London Overground serices per hour between Stratford and Clapham Junction
  • Two London Overground services per hour between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction
  • One Southern service per hour between Milton Keynes and South Croydon.

Perhaps by running some of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line trains past Gospel Oak through to Clapham Junction or Balham stations, may help to sort out a few problems.

Richmond would probably be an unlikely destination, as the Class 710 trains have a car less than the Class 378 trains and getting there from any station on the GOBlin would anyway be a single change at Gospel Oak.

As Hounslow lacks the connectivity of Balham, if there is any extension of the GOBlin, Balham could be the most likely destination.

I think the only thing we can say with certainty, is that having dual-voltage trains on the GOBlin avoids the need to add the capability later, if it is decided to extend the line past Gospel Oak station.




November 22, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. Apart from the need for a new East bound platform at Goak if through services are planned and removal of the buffer stops in the bay. Plus a new footbridge and lifts.

    Comment by Andrew Jarman | February 22, 2018 | Reply

    • For a couple of trains per hour, bi-directional working copuld be used.

      Comment by AnonW | February 22, 2018 | Reply

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