The Anonymous Widower

A Ride On The 16:03 From Barking To Gospel Oak

This afternoon, I went to see if there was any progress on the Barking Riverside Extension. The easiest way to see the works is to take a train to Dagenham Dock station and then cross over to the other platform and take a train back to where you started. It’s a two trains per hour (tph) service and usually you wait about six minutes at Dagenham Dock station, for the return train.

Nothing much seems to have happened by the bridge where Renwick Road goes over the line, except a bit of tidying up of junk left by British Rail.

The Interchange At Barking

Back at Barking, I just had time to join a surprising number of passengers, who were intending to catch the 16:03 between Barking and Gospel Oak stations.

One thing that should be noted, is that when the Barking Riverside Extension opens, the following services will share the  island Platform 7/8 at Barking station.

  • 2 tph – Platform 7 – Fenchurch Street to Grays
  • 4 tph – Platform 7 – Gospel Oak to Barking Riverside
  • 2 tph – Platform 8 – Grays to Fenchurch Street
  • 4 tph – Platform 8 – Barking Riverside to Gospel Oak

This is a well-designed same-platform interchange, that enables journeys like the following..

  • Barking Riverside and Grays
  • Barking Riverside and Fenchurch Street
  • Barking Riverside and Blackhorse Road (for the Victoria Line!)
  • Grays and Gospel Oak (for the North London Line!)

There are a lot of possibilities.

I do think, that the service between Fenchurch Street and Grays, should be doubled in frequency to four tph, if this is possible, to make the interchange more efficient.

Although, this might increase the number of passengers needing to use the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBLIN).

The Full Four-Car Class 378 Train

The train was a four-car Class 378 train and nearly all seats were taken. There were a few standees and a dog lying in the middle, so it was a good demonstration of the advantages of the train’s longitudinal seating.

It does appear to me, that more passengers are using the GOBLIN.

Possible reasons could include.

  • Some services being run by four-car electric instead of two-car diesel trains.
  • A fifty percent increase in seats on the route.
  • The step-free interchange with the Victoria Line at Blackhorse Road station.
  • Passengers trying out the improved route.

I also wonder, if all the negative publicity has persuaded passengers to give it a try.

All Change At Blackhorse Road Station

A surprising number of passengers seemed to get off at Blackhorse Road station, as the train was much less full after the station.

On other trips recently, I’ve seen large number of passengers waiting to go East in the late afternoon.

It obviously has a lot of attraction as an interchange.

First Time Travellers

In my travels along the GOBLIN in the last few weeks, I have asked a lot of passengers, whether they like the current mixed service.

I have heard only a few moans about cancellations and unreliability, but I have been very surprised at how many first time travellers on the GOBLIN, that I have encountered.

Transport for London must be doing something right.


I am led to the conclusion, that the GOBLIN is stirring and that more and more travellers are using the line.

My only worry, is that in a couple of years, when the Barking Riverside Extension opens, that the line will need extra passenger capacity.


February 28, 2019 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. Nice to meet you on the delayed 17 40 train between London Bridge and New Cross today. I looked up your blog and have enjoyed reading your posts. Now I know where to go for a better understanding of all the planned developments on the train lines across London. Thank you for making a long, busy train ride enjoyable. 🙂

    Comment by S McLoughlin | February 28, 2019 | Reply

  2. All part of the service! Thanks for the endorsement!

    Comment by AnonW | February 28, 2019 | Reply

  3. I’ve just come accross your blog after googling Keymer Junction and a bit of nosing around led me to this post. I was working at Barking on Friday night and over this weekend the last of a large collection of disused wagons have been cut up and removed from the old sidings there, mainly appeared to be old car transporters and some very old brake vans.

    Comment by James Allen | March 4, 2019 | Reply

  4. I remember seeing them! They certainly didn’t serve much of a useful purpose, except to provide guys like you with a few quid.

    Comment by AnonW | March 4, 2019 | Reply

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