TfL has formally awarded the contract that will let construction of the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside commence next year.

The roughly £263 million 4.5km extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line, one of the major projects in TfL’s Business Plan, is an intrinsic part of the Barking Riverside development, a 180-hectare site on the northern bank of the River Thames.

Of this, £91 million is coming from TfL and £172 million from the housing developer. It is in the Mayor’s own best interest to push ahead with the housing development, as the GLA owns 49% of the development, with the rest owned by London & Quadrant New Homes.

The extension of the London Overground is also a requirement for the housing development to go ahead, supporting up to 10,800 new homes.

Preparation work for the extension will commence immediately, with main construction due to start in early 2019 and train services commencing from late 2021.

The contract has been awarded to a joint venture of Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure and VolkerFitzpatrick (MSVF).

In addition to the 4.5km railway line, the contract also involves the reconfiguration of Network Rail’s Ripple Lane goods yard to allow the extension to connect to the Tilbury Loop. It also requires the construction of a viaduct over the Ripple Lane yard. This will require the viaduct to be built over the Tilbury Loop and foundations constructed between the HS1 tunnels.

There will also be a new terminus station within the Barking Riverside town square, and passive provision for a future station at Renwick Road, which would provide for an additional interchange with the C2C services.

It’s also been confirmed that the new station will be in Zone 4, and that the service will open with four trains per hour. When operational, London Overground services would no longer terminate at platform 1 at Barking station but would be diverted to run through platforms 7 and 8 which are currently used by c2c and freight services.

The contract had been due to be awarded earlier, but the collapse of Carillion and problems with the design pushed the contracts back, but it’s not expected to have a material impact on the line opening, which is still scheduled for late 2021.

There is also an option to extend the line under the Thames to Thamesmead, but that would require the demolition of the viaduct they plan to build for the current extension. It seems that the viaduct is worth building today, because of the development benefits, but worth demolishing later if needed, mainly as any such tunnel wouldn’t happen until the 2030s at the earliest, if at all.



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  1. Rog Laker says:

    Welcome news to counter-balance the news about Northern line extension to Battersea.
    Concept of Barking Riverside to Abbey Wood extension has to be seen in context of a DLR cross-river extension further upstream, which may meet identified needs for improving connectivity.

  2. Melvyn says:

    Perhaps eventually Overground could also run to Grays allowing Fenchurch Street to Grays services to be extended as through services via Grays to say Pitsea .

    A documentary about the building of HS1 featured a map on the wall with a station at Dagenham what a pity HS1 doesn’t have a station which connects with C2C on the north side of the river given lack of river crossings in this area.

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Not to mention a new Fenwick Rd station located some where on the map on where the London Overground Barking Riverside extension is to get approval and construction could start next year. Plus with the Class 710 trains scheduled to start entering service from next year. Including on the Gospel Oak-Barking line and other lines the Class 710 will be operated on.

  4. James Miller says:

    I’ve always believed that this short extension could be built without electrification, as the trains could use battery power on the viaduct.

    I said so in an article in Rail Magazine and no one told me I’m wrong.

    If you read everything in the documents from TfL, electric trains are mentioned, but not electrification.

    It would be so much easier and cheaper to build a viaduct without electrification and if an extension was ever built under the Thames, a tunnel without overhead wires, would surely be simpler.

    \we shall see what happens.

    • S&T Tim says:

      OHL is being extended around the NLL to Barking, it makes sense, undersea tunnels use OHL and it is the internationally accepted standard for new traction power. Third rail is only still here because of the cost in replacing it and the cost from the disruption. If South of the river wasn’t third rail it would be OHL by now. In fact OHL works were only interrupted by WW1 and the lack of equipment to continue trials as it came from Germany!

  5. Dave Lindop says:

    Isn’t the glaring absence of new improved tube or overground in SE London a little obvious?

  6. Geoffrey says:

    The plan is heavily over-engineered at the junction with c2c. The westbound line is proposed to be on the viaduct and then have a separate westbound line as far a approach to Barking Station when all that is need is a plain ground level junction with the up Tilbury line. There would still be room for a station there. All extra massive costs and too much disruption to c2c and freight services. What is also needed is a widening of platform 7 & 8 at Barking station, there is room on that side, to prevent dangerous overcrowding as many passengers from Riverside will want to change to c2c /District services to West Ham and Fenchurch Street for their City jobs. The Mayor has been looking for savings so here is one.

    • ianvisits says:

      The railways now try to avoid flat junctions as much as possible as it causes congestion problems and potential risk if signalling failures occur.

      That’s one of the reasons why the massive rebuilding at Croydon is being proposed, and why a flat junction wasn’t used for the East London line upgrade.

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