The Anonymous Widower

Has Sadiq Khan Got His Sums Right?

This article on the Rail Technology web site, which is entitled Underground set to undergo biggest capacity expansion ever, is a good summary of Sadiq Khan’s plans for Transport for London.

It’s All About Cash Flow

I am unsure about the plans, as it seems to me that a there is a lot of money to find in two years less to fund the building of the Bakerloo Line Extension.

So there is the double whammy of the fare freeze and accelerated construction!

Crossrail And Thameslink

I also think that Crossrail will contribute some of this money and because it is properly designed, it will stimulate growth in areas like Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Old Oak Common, Paddington, Romford and West Drayton, to name a few places.

The same however, can’t be said for Thameslink.

  • It doesn’t serve many areas ripe for development.
  • As it is not a TfL route like Crossrail, it won’t generate anything like the same fare revenue.
  • Thameslink could turn out to be too much of a long-distance commuter line.
  • Govia Thameslink Railway’s first loyalty is not to London.

On the whole, I don’t think it will benefit London as much as Crossrail will.

The Underground

Until I learn otherwise, I do think that the engineers of the Underground, may have thrown the Mayor a few lifelines.

  1. It would appear that the Victoria and Jubilee Lines can go to 36 trains per hour (tph).
  2. By raising the voltage and installing automatic train control on the sub-surface lines, there can be a 33 % increase in capacity.
  3. New Piccadilly Line trains will be ordered in 2017.

One and two, should happen easily and if the design is right, three could be a big game-changer.

But the problem, is that although these will generate cash flow in the long term, only 36 tph on the Victoria Line will happen in the near future.

I also feel, that although the capacity of the Victoria Line can easily be increased, will the stations be able to cope. Highbury and Islington, Oxford Circus and Victoria are not mentioned in the article.

All of these trains and passengers will also generate lots of heat and although Crossrail is designed to handle the watts, the deep-level Underground trains and stations were not.

This might mean a route change by passengers from older lines to Crossrail, which could have various effects.

The Non-Devolution Of Rail Lines To TfL

I have a feeling that the figures show that this is very much neutral to TfL’s finances, as some of the routes need a lot of money spent on stations and new trains. But under the new arrangement, TfL will probably have more say in service quality on the lines, than they do now.

Good Design Of The Bakerloo Line Extension

There must surely be scope to save more money in the design of the Bakerloo Line Extension. But I suspect that most of the easy savings have already been found.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a radical  design for the extension come out at a late stage. But this is less likely, as because the line is an extension, it must be compatible with the existing line.

The Petty Cash

I think that where the Mayor might make up the shortfall is in the smaller things, that people forget.

For example.

  • Expansion of the Night Tube to all lines, the Drain and the Overground.
  • Tactical and expanded contactless ticketing.
  • Better train scheduling.
  • Expansion of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and the Barking Riverside Extension.
  • Expansion of the East London and Lea Valley Lines.
  • Extra stations and station entrances.
  • Development of Old Oak Common.

But some things already proposed will be tricky.

  • I don’t think that he’ll save the money he wants on staff.
  • Politicians always overestimate what they’ll earn from property development.
  • You can only build so much affordable housing.
  • Developers might find building housing just outside London is more profitable.
  • The Mayor could have Union trouble.

There are probably a lot more where these came from.


With Brexit and Trump, there is a possibility of a drop in passenger numbers and income, which could derail everything.

It will be a close run thing.

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Theresa Working A Flanker?

With my Project Management knowledge, but no actual experience, if I look at the three options for a new runway in the South-East, I come to these conclusions about each.

  1. New North-West Runway at Heathrow – Virtually impossible to build due to political, environmental and local opposition.
  2. Extended Northern Runway at Heathrow – Difficult but not impossible to build.
  3. New Southern Runway at Gatwick – Probably fairly easy to build.

But reading the media this morning it looks like Option 1 will get the go-ahead.

So could Theresa give her blessing to this option, knowing it will never get built, due to the will of the House and the people?

It would be Brexit all over again, where the electorate and some rebellious MPs override the wish of the Prime Minister and their cabinet.

Ultimately, it would mean that Option 3 at Gatwick could go ahead, followed in a few years by a cut-down Option 2.

This would future-proof the South-East’s airport capacity for decades.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail In The Home Straight

Crossrail’s opening dates are only just over a couple of years in the future and this article in Rail Engineer, which is entitle Crossrail – The Deadline Is looming, describes what is happening on the Eastern branch to Shenfield.

The article is a must-read and details how the project is organised, to make sure it is delivered on time and on budget. The last paragraph sums up the project.

In engineering terms, this project couldn’t be described as ‘cutting edge’ but, in railway engineering terms, it would be hard to find a more complex environment to work in with potential challenges at every step. Costain has reached almost two million man-hours on the project, and the team is confident that all of the deadlines will be met and train testing will be underway after November 2016 as planned.

East London and East Anglia have fed on scraps for decades and I think that meeting the target of November 2016, so trains can be tested, is highly likely.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , | Leave a comment

The Signs Of Bad Planning On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line Were There

This article in Rail Technology entitled J Murphy & Sons to carry out electrification of Gospel Oak-Barking route, was published on September 29th last year.

I reread the article to see if I could find any reference to the Wightman Road bridge, but there is none.

However, I did find this section.

But Glenn Wallis, secretary of Barking-Gospel Oak Line User Group (BGORUG), said at the time: “Our expert rail industry advisers tell us that for Network Rail to have taken three years to complete GRIP 3 [completed in March this year] indicates that they have not exactly been throwing resources at the job.

“The likelihood of Network Rail completing electrification of the line by mid-2017 is now said to be improbable.”

That looks to me like Network Rail didn’t get all their ducks in a row on this job.

Searching for Wightman Road bridge on the Internet led me to this article on Harringay Online, which is entitled Wightman Road Closure – What Will it Mean? The article was published on December 17th last year. This is said.

Whilst this work has been on the cards for a number of years, its programming to start in Spring 2016 has been driven both by the serendipitous coinciding of the signing off of the nearly £3M budget (from TfL and Network Rail) and the planned electrification works of the Gospel to Barking Oak line.

I find it interesting that in endless articles written about the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, the reconstruction of this important road bridge is not mentioned once. This is especially surprising, as bridge reconstructions in Palmerston Road in Walthamstow and Upper Holloway, have been extensively reported.

There was also the major reconstruction of the railway bridge at South Tottenham in December 2014, which I wrote about in VolkerFitzpatrick Are Having A Christmas Party At South Tottenham.

The Palmerston Road bridge was rebuilt in 2014, but it doesn’t appear that any plans to rebuild the Wightman Road bridge surfaced until December 2015.

I think that any major bridge reconstruction would normally be done before the electrification work, as the masts, gantries and possibly wires, would get in the way of the heavy lifts needed for bridge replacement. Also, a sturdy bridge is a convenient place on which to mount the overhead wires.

So it looks like some seriously bad planning to me, that this bridge wasn’t replaced before the electrification started!

The only feasible alternative, is that because of a particular problem, the bridge replacement and the electrification need to be done at the same time.

But if that was the case, then you’d think that the bridge replacement would take place after the complete closure of the line on September 24th, 2016.

But as I said in Wightman Road Bridge Is Falling Down, the bridge should be fully open in September 2016.

Or was the rebuilding of the bridge, just forgotten?

June 13, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Abbey Wood Station – 9th June 2016

I took these pictures at Abbey Wood station.

If you look at the various pictures I have taken over the past months of this station, the station is progressing and the builders seem to be managing to always have a working station amongst all the construction work.

Certain factors have helped in this important aim.

  • The previous station was unloved by everyone and had absolutely no architectural merit.
  • There are no heritage issues.
  • Good design of a temporary step-free pedestrian bridge, that appears to be morphing into a permanent one, has aided passengers.
  • There always seems to be cheery staff on hand for lost and puzzled passengers.
  • Traffic is heavy in the area, but not unmanageably so.

But I think most importantly, the Crossrail portal is some distance away from the station, keeping the two projects effectively separate.

Compared to some station rebuilds, I’ve encountered in the past, so far it has been a textbook example of good project management.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell To The Old Gospel Oak To Barking Line

Today is the last day, that you can ride the Gospel Oak to Barking Line to the East of South Tottenham station, until after the wires are erected in a few months time.

So I took some pictures.

I must say I have not been impressed with progress so far.

  • It looks like a large proportion of the piles are in the ground.
  • If the piles are in the ground securely, why aren’t more masts erected?
  • There would appear to be no start on clearing the platform extensions.
  • Only in one place did I see a work-site.
  • I didn’t see anyone actually working.
  • There is masses of litter
  • There’s no sign of how the stations will be electrified.

With my limited experience of looking at large projects that are in trouble, this project has the air of something not being up to scratch.

What has really puzzled me about this project, is that the information coming from Network Rail and especially TfL, has not been up to the usual standard.

June 3, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 2 Comments

Mutual Blogging

A reader of this blog, who used to be an old Artemis professional, is currently working on a large project, where there are a large number of sub-contractors and a difficult public relations problem with those, who live locally to the project.

They asked me, if a blog could solve some of his problems.

So here goes!

I would suggest, he starts a simple blog, probably using WordPress, as it is generally easily managed by an individual with average computer skills.

  • Only a tight group of individuals would be allowed to add posts to the blog.
  • Posts would be limited to so many a week.
  • Anybody would be allowed to comment, but under a set of behavioural rules and moderation, If the project is controversial, you don’t want the blog to become the focus of discontent.
  • I believe that with a difficult project, it could be a place for constructive discussion.
  • Hopefully, each post would generate comments and discussion, that improved the original post.
  • The blog would also point on its home page to useful sites concerned with the subject of the blog.
  • There would be a contact form.

If you were having a blog like this for say a public infrastructure project like Crossrail, it could be public, but a project like perhaps trialling a new treatment for a controversial-to-some illness like HIV-Aids, might be password-protected.

I think on balance most project blogs would be public.

If a system like WordPress is used, all of what I said is possible. And a lot more too!

North of me, they are electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking Line and there has been a bit of controversy over noisy piling in the middle of the night.

A simple post apologising for the noise and giving locations may have eased the problems. You might even get comments to the blog from those overlooking the piling, which show the details of the engineering and the generated noise.

You can never be sure, the way that such a blog will develop.

But I’m sure it will work, to improve the smooth running of a project.

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Computing, World | , , | Leave a comment

What Is Happening On The Midland Metro?

I am looking forward to taking a train to Birmingham and then getting on a tram of the Midland Metro at New Street station.

This article in Construction Enquirer is entitled Balfour months late on £127m Birmingham Metro  and gives some details of the delays.

But surely, this project should have been delivered some months ago?

The article also says that the trams will reach Centenary Square in 2019. As these will be battery operated trams, it does seem a rather long time to create just a few stops without any catenary.

Compare the progress of expansion in Birmingham to that in Manchester, where a much more complicated Second City Crossing is being built and you come to some interesting conclusions about Birmingham and the delivery of projects for the Midland Metro..


March 2, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Will There Be An Eight-Month Closure On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

This has been stated in several articles on the Internet, but I’ll use this article from London 24 entitled Barking to Gospel Oak Overground line “to close for EIGHT months this year”. This is said.

A closure is necessary so the diesel stock can be replaced with electric trains and to increase capacity on the hugely-overcrowded route.

A £60m contract was awarded to J. Murphy and Sons to electrify the line in September last year but there has been no announcement from the Department of Transport, Network Rail or TfL.

London24 understands negotiations have been ongoing between the organisations over the length and nature of the closure while electrification takes place.

Shutting it will cause mayhem for thousands of passengers who will have to find alternative routes, which will often take longer and be more expensive.

I have also heard from a reliable source that there will be an eight month closure and the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin) will open with new trains.

I feel that Murphys are electrifying the line in a novel way and I wrote about it in Are We Seeing A New Approach To Electrification On The Gospel Oak To Barking Line?

I have no specific or private information, but only what I have read in the media or seen with my own eyes.

I will of course be using my own experience of many years of supporting and observing large projects.

What Would Be An Acceptable Closure?

In Summer 2015. the Victoria Line was closed for two months, to replace a cross-over at Walthamstow Central. This was just about acceptable to the locals, but the alternative routes and Rail Replacement Buses coped.

At the right time of the year, I suspect that the residents of North London could endure a closure of perhaps 3-4 months. But of course, they’d prefer it, if there wasn’t any closures, except for odd days at weekends.

At least there are alternative routes.

  • The upgraded Victoria Line can help between Walthamstow and Upper Holloway, with assistance from buses.
  • After the 17th April, there would appear to be no North London Line closures.
  • The Victoria Line to Highbury and Islington can partly replace going to Gospel Oak for the North London Line.
  • There are a couple of out of station interchanges.

Freight trains can be routed via the North London Line.

How Much Work Can Be Done?

The key to doing anything, is the number of hours that work can be done and the amount of resources that can be used.

This is the current list of closures on the GOBlin.

  • Sun 31 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sun 07 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 14 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 21 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 28 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 06 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 20 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 27 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 03 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 10 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 16 to Sun 17 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 23 to Sun 24 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 30 Apr to Mon  02 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 07 to Sun 08 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 14 to Sun 15 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 21 to Sun 22 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 28 to Tue 31 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 04 to Sun 05 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 11 to Sun 12 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 18 to Sun 19 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 25 to Sun 26 Jun 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 02 to Sun 03 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 09 to Sun 10 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 16 to Sun 17 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 23 to Sun 24 Jul 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking

No long closure seems to have been announced yet!

Note the following.

  • There doesn’t appear to be any working day closures, so it would appear that Transport for London/Network Rail are looking after the passengers! And the revenue!
  • I should also say, that an engineer working on an unrelated station project in London, said that it was typical to work on a twenty-four hour basis. Thus a weekend closure could give over fifty continuous hours for working.
  • There are two longer closures in May at the Bank Holidays, so what is planned for these weekends?
  • None of the work is in tunnels!
  • The line could be blockaded at night to allow work to continue all through the night.
  • Important freight could use the North London Line.
  • The line connects a string of roads together, where there are various facilities like cafes and shops. I bet if someone is peckish at two in the morning, they can get a sandwich.
  • I would suspect, that they will apply some of the lessons learned at Dawlish.
  • J Murphy and Sons have a reputation for using lots of sub-contractors.
  • A lot of the work is taking place close to Murphy’s depot!
  • They can get the lights out and use the summer months to great advantage.
  • Days can be used to get everything ready for the following night’s work.
  • The extension of the line to Barking Riverside can be done later after the GOBlin has reopened.

I think that someone is doing a universe-class project management job and has realised that by clever working practices and selected weekend and overnight closures, there could be masses of time and resources available for the job.

Could this explain, that when the eight month closure is discussed, Mike Stubbs from London Overground is always quoted as saying no final decision has been made?

Perhaps every day, project managers are telling him a smaller and less disruptive figure.

Have the freight companies been told, that the line will be closed to them for eight months, so they can plan accordingly? It would be very sensible and I suspect they have already made alternative arrangements.

I think that Murphy’s orange army will get an amazing amount of actual work done before the end of 2016.

If the electrification gets delivered on time and budget, a great number of men and women, will be telling their grandchildren exaggerated tales about how they rebuilt London’s railways!


One problem is the Class 710 trains, as they can’t be delivered until 2018, so I suspect that opening after the eight month closure with new trains, should be opening with four-car electric trains.

In a section in my related post entitled Where Are The Trains?, I said this.

I believe that the Class 387 trains, are the only acceptable and available trains, that will be available to open the service after an eight-month blockade.

Nothing else except some old trains from British Rail’s dustbin are available.

The Class 387 trains will be available as Bombardier have sorted the production. I wrote about this in Class 387 Trains On Track

Political Considerations

In May we have the London Mayoral Election and if there is an eight-month blockade of the GOBlin, I don’t think it would be to Zac Goldsmith’s advantage.

But supposing by mid-April a plan has been published and evidence of masts and wires is creeping along between Gospel Oak and Barking!

So why has the eight months closure been so widely publicised?

I’m no spin-doctor, but wouldn’t it be better to give people low expectations and then say that there’ll be new electric trains at the end of the year.

A couple of months ago, Modern Railways published an editorial saying Network Rail needed a win to restore their image in the eyes of the general public.

Could this be their strategy to go for a win?

If it fails, it will be an own goal of horrendous proportions.


I am led to the following conclusions.

  • Between now and December 2016, there is a very large number of man-hours available to electrify the GOBlin.
  • The line can be blockaded every night and work could continue under lights
  • Eight four-car Class 387 trains could be borrowed to start the electric service.
  • Zac Goldsmith, Boris Johnson, Network Rail and Peter Hendy, and J. Murphy and Sons have a lot to gain if this line is electrified on time and on budget.

I have a feeling that if we don’t get biblical rain, plague and pestilence, London is in for a surprise.

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts On The Gospel Oak To Barking Electrification

The electrification of the Gospel Oak To Barking Line (GOBlin), is the closest I’ve been to an electrification project since the nineteen-sixties when I was travelling up and down between London and Liverpool, through the electrification on the West Coast Main Line.

Yesterday, I took a look at the start of work at Gospel Oak station. Thinking about what I saw, it strikes me that everything is much better organised than it has been in some places in the past.

Perhaps, they’re doing their project management in a lot better way.


As an illustration of project performance, I have read that not knowing where signalling cables were buried, was a big problem on the electrification of the Great Western Railway. So out of curiosity, I searched the Internet for any reports about the state of the signalling on the GOBlin.

I found this web page on the Sweett Group web site, which is entitled Gospel Oak To Barking Electrification. This was a brief summary of the work they did.

Sweett Group was engaged by TfL to review and validate the Grip 3 estimate prepared by Network Rail in order to assist TfL in the determination of their funding contribution.

Reading the whole of the report, leads me to the conclusion that TfL wanted to make sure, that the only surprises they get on this project, will be positive ones.

As to signalling, very little is said, except this.

In addition, modifications to existing signalling had to be carried out in order to overcome conflicts with signal sighting caused by OLE support structures and to accommodate the introduction of longer freight trains.

So in answer to my original question on signalling, it looks like most of it is in good order.

Line Closures

Will planned closures of the line tell us anything? This web page from TfL details all their line closures for the next six months.

Those specific to the GOBlin are.

  • Sun 10 Jan 16 – South Tottenham to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 17 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 24 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sun 31 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sun 07 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 14 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 21 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 28 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 06 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 20 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 27 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 03 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking until 12:00
  • Sun 10 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 16 to Sun 17 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 23 to Sun 24 Apr 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 30 Apr to Mon  02 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 07 to Sun 08 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 14 to Sun 15 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 21 to Sun 22 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking
  • Sat 28 to Tue 31 May 16 – Gospel Oak to Barking

There are also a few closures of the North London Line, that start at Gospel Oak.

  • Fri 01 Jan to Sun 03 Jan 16 – Gospel Oak to Stratford from 22:00
  • Sun 21 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Stratford
  • Sun 28 Feb 16 – Gospel Oak to Stratford
  • Sun 06 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Stratford
  • Sun 20 Mar 16 – Gospel Oak to Stratford

The first is an interesting one, as it is this weekend, when the contractors are known to be piling for overhead wires, late into the night.

On all the other four Sundays, the GOBlin is closed all or part of the day.

Surely, you wouldn’t close both routes across North London, unless you wanted to work on both at the same time!

Could the contractors be wiring up Gospel Oak Junction and Platform 3 at Gospel Oak station?

These are my overall comments.

  1. Monday to Friday passengers won’t have to suffer many replacement bus services.
  2. Something is planned for the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend
  3. As there is no closures scheduled in June, it looks like May 31st will mark a natural break in the project.
  4. Someone has been doing some very good project management.

It will be fascinating to take a look on Mondays for the next few months, to see what has been completed.

Space To Work

I wonder if anybody has ever done any research on the performance of the amount of space available to building projects.

What surprised me yesterday, as my train trundled between Harringay Green Lanes and Gospel Oak stations, was how much space was available and it had all been cleared of vegetation.

I hope this is a sign that they mean to carry on as they’ve started.

Having looked at many large projects in the actuality, I strongly believe that a project with lots of space, that is kept tidy, is more likely to be delivered on time and on budget.

Today, I also followed the line on a Google Map and virtually all the way from Gospel Oak station to Leyton Midland Road station, there are green verges, several metres deep on both sides of the tracks.

Look at this section of the line from Crouch Hill to South Tottenham stations.

Crouch Hill To South Tottenham

Crouch Hill To South Tottenham

Note all the green space, especially where the line crosses the East Coast Main Line, where a chord is to be electrified.

This space must contribute to a successful project.

Obviously towards the east, where the line is on a Victorian embankment is going to be more challenging.

Murphy’s Contract

A lot more detail on the GOBlin electrification is given in this article in Rail Technology Magazine, which is entitled J Murphy & Sons to carry out electrification of Gospel Oak-Barking route. This is said.

J Murphy & Sons Limited will carry out electrification works along the 12-mile line from Gospel Oak to Barking on the Anglia route, after winning the £56.9m contract from Network Rail.

The contract, which was awarded three months later than originally expected, will allow work to start on the ‘Goblin’ project in October. 

In some ways, I was surprised, the contract was awarded to Murphy, as I didn’t think they were noted for doing rail electrification. I know them as a well-respected London contractor, who have been around since my childhood. Their premises are actually close to the line, which must help.

I know it said that the project would start in October and it just made a start in 2015, but at least it’s got going. The article says this about the project timeline.

The electrification contract runs until April 2017 but, if carried out according to the planned timeline, “major on-site works” will commence in June 2016 with services ready to operate a year later. Network Rail’s official classification of the works is for GRIP stages 4-8: ‘Main Works – Civils, Structure, Building, Track, & Bonding’.

This gives the intriguing prospect, that the electrification could take twelve months. This question has to be asked – Have major on-site works already started?

Even if they haven’t, judging by the noise at Gospel Oak something has started and that completion date of April 2017, is starting to look very feasible and just in time for the May 2017 timetable change.


Not all stations can accept the new four-car Class 710 trains or are to the standard passengers expect these days.

  • Gospel Oak – Disabled access, lifts, coffee stall – Platform needs extending.
  • Upper Holloway – Disabled access, ramps – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections – Road bridge by station is being replaced by the end of 2017.
  • Crouch Hill – Stairs-only access – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections
  • Harringay Green Lanes – Disabled access, ramps – Platforms need extending
  • South Tottenham – Disabled access, lifts – Platform needs extending.
  • Blackhorse Road – Stairs-only access – Disabled access in planning – Platforms need extending
  • Walthamstow Queen’s Road – Disabled access, ramps – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections
  • Leyton Midland Road – Stairs-only access – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections.
  • Leytonstone High Road – Stairs-only access – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections.
  • Wanstead Park – Stairs-only access – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections.
  • Woodgrange Park – Stairs-only access – Platforms need extending by reopening closed sections.
  • Barking – Disabled access, lift

So of the twelve stations on the line seven need platforms to be extended by reopening closed section, four need new extensions and six need improvements to the disabled access.

It will be interesting to see what is completed other than the necessary platform extensions, before the electric trains run.


The Rail Technology Magazine article also details the scope of the electrification.

In addition to wiring from Gospel Oak to Barking and both the terminal platforms, the following will be electrified.

  • Carlton Road Junction to Junction Road Junction – Connects to the Midland Main Line
  • Upper Holloway Reception Line
  • Harringay Park Junction to Harringay Junction – Connects to the East Coast Main Line

Note that there is no mention of the extension of the line to Barking Riverside.

Electrification work has obviously started at the easier Gospel Oak end of the line, so I think we can assume that Murphy and a lot of sub-contractors are pulling out all the stops to get this job finished on time.

One problem they don’t have is getting power to the new electrification, as it connects to several electrified lines.

There is also only twelve miles to electrify.

I think we could well be seeing, the electrification completed and the platforms lengthened, before the Class 710 trains are delivered.

Class 710 Trains

The Class 710 Trains ordered for the line are unlikely to arrive before May 2018. But I suspect that TfL will find something to run services.

They could even hire some of Porterbrook’s speculative build of Class 387 trains, or perhaps borrow some of the redundant and very ugly Class 319 trains.

After all, they only need eight trains of four-cars each.

Extension To Barking Riverside

It looks like, that this will be done, after the main project has been completed.


It looks like the following will happen.

  • Due to some rather excellent project management, that finally the Gospel Oak to Barking Line will be electrified and capable of running four-car electric trains.
  • It’s not the biggest of projects, that could be fairly straightforward.
  • The completion of the electrification project could be as early as April 2017.
  • The trains, unless they rustle up some from elsewhere, will probably be delivered later.
  • There will be little if any interruption to the important Monday to Friday service of the line during electrification.
  • More freight trains will be hauled by electric locomotives in the near future.

I can’t see anybody complaining about all that!



January 1, 2016 Posted by | Travel | , , | 3 Comments