The Anonymous Widower

Gospel Oak Speed Increases

London has a rail capacity problem, for both freight and passenger trains.

This report from Network Rail is entitled The London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

One of the secondary recommendations of the report is to increase speed through Gospel Oak.

The report explains it like this.

This proposal would see the current 20mph line speeds through Gospel Oak increased, through an upgrade to the junction immediately to the west of the station. Improving the flow of traffic through this critical flat junction, where the North London Line and Gospel Oak-Barking Line meet, would be of benefit for the wider operations and performance of these orbital routes. Freight trains in particular, which run non-stop through Gospel Oak, using all available routes, would see a notable uplift to how quickly they are able to pass through the area.

This would not only contribute to achieving the fast end-to-end cross-London paths that are a priority for freight but would also reduce the time trains would occupy the junction, increasing performance resilience at Gospel Oak, the impact of which would drive improvement right across the North London Line and Gospel Oak and Barking Line.

This map from cartometro shows the track layout at Gospel Oak.


  1. The double-track North London Line passing through Platforms 1 and 2 at Gospel Oak station.
  2. The double-track Gospel Oak and Barking Line passing to the North of the station.
  3. Platform 3 is a West-facing bay platform for services to Barking.
  4. There is no Westbound connection to Platform 3.
  5. All tracks in the map are hace 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

The two double-track railways merge west of the station at Gospel Oak junction.

This Google map shows the same area.



  1. Gospel Oak junction is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. Platform 1 and 2 of Gospel Oak station are in the South-East corner of the map.

This Google map shows the junction to a larger scale.

There would appear to be space to the North of the junction for expansion.

It might even be possible to squeeze in another line, so that trains can go straight through at a faster speed.


This looks like another junction, that could be easy to improve on an engineering basis.

But whether the locals will accept it quietly could be another matter.

Related Posts

These are related posts about the London Rail Freight Strategy (LRFS).

Decarbonisation Of London’s Freight Routes

Doubling Harlesden Junction

East Coast Main Line South Bi-Directional Capability

Gauge Improvements Across London

Headway Reductions On The Gospel Oak To Barking, North London and West London Lines

Heavy Axle Weight Restrictions

Kensal Green Junction Improvement

Longhedge Junction Speed Increases

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Kensington Olympia

Moving The West London Line AC/DC Switchover To Shepherd’s Bush

Nunhead Junction Improvement

Stratford Regulating Point Extension

Will Camden Road Station Get A Third Platform?

Will Clapham Junction Station Get A Platform 0?

June 27, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 16 Comments

Would It Be Sensible To Build London Overground’s Lea Valley Trains As Eight-Cars?

It has been reported that getting the new Train Control Management System on the new Class 710 trains is proving troublesome. It also still needs to be updated for multiple working, as is reported in this article in Rail Magazine, which says.

He (Jon Fox) also said that the TCMS will need further updating for the Class 710/1s, which will be required to operate in multiple on West Anglia inner-suburban trains from Liverpool Street. Asked when they would enter traffic, he said: “Not predicting, but it will be this year.”

As these trains will always work in pairs of two four-car trains, why not build them as eight-car trains?

  1. Yrains would consists of two driver cars and six intermediate cars.
  2. There would surely be less testing needed.
  3. New trains could be in service earlier.

Software for multiple working could be pushed back few months, until needed.

Would the cost of manufacture be lower?

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

A New Train On The North London Line

I was waiting at Gospel Oak station on the North London Line, when this train went through.

Checking with Real Time Trains, the Class 800 train was going from Hitachi’s depot at Doncaster to North Pole Depot.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will The New Class 710 Trains Use Selective Door Opening At Gospel Oak Station?

These two pictures were taken of a Class 172 train in Platform 3 of Gospel Oak station.

The two-car Class 172 trains are just over 47 metres long.

In The Aventra Car Length Puzzle, I said that the Class 710 trains for the Overground would have twenty metre long cars, which is similar to the 20.4 metres of the Class 378 trains.

For information other four-car electric units, that Aventras are likely to replace have the following car-lengths

  • Class 315 trains – 19.80 metres
  • Class 317 trains – 19.83 metres
  • Class 319/769 trains – 19.83 or 19.92 metres
  • Class 321 trains – 19.95 trains
  • Class 455 trains 19.83 trains.

So it looks like the Class 710 train, has been sized as a direct replacement foe much of the Mark 3-based electric multiple units.

This would mean, that no platform lengthening work needs to be done, when the many older units are replaced with new Aventras.

It would also mean that as I talked about in Musical Trains On The Overground, that Aventras could share routes with Class 378 trains without too much trouble on the North and West London Lines.

So will a four-car Class 710 train, which will be about eighty metres long fit Platform 3 at Gospel Oak station?

This Google Map shows the station.

Note that a Class 172 train is in Platform 3 and in Platform 2 there is a five-car Class 378 train.

The length of Platform 3 can be ascertained and it looks like that Platform 3 is already long enough for an eighty metre train.

If it isn’t Bombardier certainly have fitted Selective Door Opening to the new trains.

November 15, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are Murphy Group Playing A Long Game?

This news release on the Murphy Group web site is entitled Murphy Wins £60M+ London Overground Electrification Project.

Given, that it was known to be a difficult project, I don’t think I am alone in thinking that Murphy’s contract price was good value for London Overground.

Since then, progress has not been at a fast pace and some challenging problems seem to have emerged, but on whole professional commentators in magazines like Modern Railways an Rail Engineer have been broadly praising of the way the work is being done and what has so far been finished.

The troubles on the Holloway Road Bridge, which is not in Murphy’s contract, that I wrote about in Did The Project Management Go Wrong On The Holloway Road Bridge?, can’t have helped either.

I do wonder though, if the Murphy Group could be a beneficiary of the successful electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin).

This Google Map shows the area between Gospel Oak and Kentish Town stations.

Murphy Group's Site In Kentish Town

Murphy Group’s Site In Kentish Town


  • Gospel Oak station in the top left, where the GOBlin meets the North London Line.
  • The Midland Main Line curves across the bottom of the map, with Kentish Town station, just off the bottom right corner.
  • There is another rail line (Tottenham North Curve ?) connecting the GOBlin to the Midland Main Line, that is current used by freight trains.

Between all these lines is a massive builders yard, which is the home of the Murphy Group.

In some ways giving the Murphy Group, the contract for the GOBlin upgrade and electrification, is like giving your local builder, the job of upgrading your house.

The Murphy Group have even accessed some parts of the work, by putting gates in the security fence between the railway and their yard.

This map from, shows the railway lines in the are.

Lines Between Gospel Oak And Kentish Town

Lines Between Gospel Oak And Kentish Town

It shows how at times in the past, the rail connections from this area, were some of the most comprehensive in London.

There are already plans for some of the railways in the area.

  • The Tottenham North Curve from Carlton Road Junction to Junction Road Junction is being electrified, so that electric-hauled freight trains can run between Barking and the Midland Main Line.
  • Passenger services could be introduced on the Tottenham North Curve to create a second route across North London, linking Barking and Acton via West Hampstead Thameslink and the Dudding Hill Line.
  • Could we even see a re-opened Highgate Road station?

I have a feeling, that all this, together with London’s enormous need for new housing will see the Murphy Group site developed, in a manner that is best for London. And the Murphy Group!


  • The development will have very good transport links.
  • A reopened Highgate Road station, would be in the middle of the development.
  • The development site is occupied by largely one company.
  • The site is well-connected to railways for the transport of building materials and spoil.
  • The site could be developed gradually, as the Murphy Group released the space.

Probably, the biggest problem would be finding the Murphy Group a new site.

It will be very interesting to see what happens on this very valuable site!





November 17, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Electrification Work Starts At Gospel Oak Station

My Google Alert on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line picked up this article from the Camden New Journal, which is entitled Noisy railway work disturbs Gospel Oak residents on Christmas Day.

So I went to have a look at Gospel Oak station.

Note the piles in the ground covered by a piece of wood.

That was what all the noise was about!

This Google Map shows the station.

Gospel Oak Station

Gospel Oak Station

Note that there is a two-car Class 172 train in the station.

From this image, it would appear that the platforms will have to be lengthened for the four-car Class 710 trains.

Giving the map a close scrutiny, I wonder if they ever wanted to install a Platform 4 for future eastbound services on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, if it would be possible.

I don’t think London Overground have any plans to do this, but services from the GOBlin past Gospel Oak have been suggested in the past.


Note the

December 31, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment