Early this morning, the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside station opened, linking a future large housing estate to the rest of London.

Depending on how you look at it, the station is either late as it was due to open last year, or early, as the revised opening date had been this autumn.

The £327 million link with its long curving viaduct, new station and provision for a second station will open up the huge Riverside housing development where eventually some 10,000 homes will be built, and later, if permission is granted, another 11,000 homes to the north where provision exists for a second station to be added at Castle Green.

This morning though was the opening day for the new station at Barking Riverside, so long as people got up very early to avoid the heat and be on the first train. The first passenger train to arrive at Barking Riverside arrived at 6:50am – a minute late because of a delay caused by a late running freight train ahead of it at Barking station. There’s a bit of give in the timetable to allow for that, and what was a 3-minute delay at Barking was almost entirely recovered by the time the train arrived at Barking Riverside, and eliminated by the time the train left.

It’s a short ride along the existing railway from Barking station before the old ballast is replaced with brand new concrete and the railway rises up on a long curving viaduct that offers good views across the landscape that will soon be full of housing.

It’s only a few minutes until the train pulls into the wide platforms at Barking Riverside station.

Possibly the most surprising thing about the station is the view it offers of the surrounding area, as it has a very good vantage of the Thames. This is the industrial Thames, but personally, I find it just as appealing to see as the central London river. Be aware that over time, the view will disappear though as the station will eventually be surrounded by the housing that will provide it with passengers, so pay a visit this year to admire the view. If coming for the view from the platforms, I’d suggest an evening visit, as the sun will be behind you when looking out across the river.

As the station is quite high up compared to the current landscape, there are a number of glass walls on the platform to provide windbreaks

Thanks to the timetable alignment, one train arrives at the station about a minute before the other leaves — so this two-platform station is already making full use of both platforms. The station is also designed for future 5-car trains when they are required. Something else the station has two of is lifts. As this is a new station, there’s space to design two lifts into the building, reducing the risk of people arriving and finding there’s no step-free access because a lift is being repaired. There’s also a disability compliant toilet on the pay-side of the ground floor.

There’s space on the ground floor for the obligatory retail outlet, and also a cashpoint machine. There’s also a substantial secure cycle storage space inside that mirrors the space on the other side of the station for the shop.

The station is also double-sided for entrances, with the eastern side currently a long winding walk through a building site for future homes, but the western side is laid out with a new road and cycle lanes with spaces for drop-off taxi/disabled parking and bus stops.

From the outside, the station is a large long rectangular slab that’s visually split into three horizontal slices and that slicing of the architecture helps to create a visual effect of a long low-level station, when in fact it’s quite tall.

The grey steel and glass upper deck sits above a long line of corten steel panels that have a mixed appearance depending on how close you are to terracotta roof tiles from a distance to the perforated steel sheets up close.

At the moment, the landscape around the station is a building site, which gives the area an oddly nostalgic air as it’s a reminder of how the DLR often felt when it was being first being built. It’s how transport should be done though, built the infrastructure first and then the housing will follow, along with the schools and shops and GP surgeries. That’s what’s happening at Barking Riverside, as a new railway enables the construction, over time, of over 20,000 new homes.

Although most of the land around the station is a building site waiting for housing, to the north of the riverside, housing was built years ago in expectation of transport links that never arrived, they’ve had a couple of decades of broken promises that have now at long last been delivered.

Barking Riverside is finally on the map.

Extract from tube map (c) TfL

The station opened to passengers this morning, but because of the heatwave, the official opening that was to happen later today has been delayed to a day when the weather won’t melt the ceremonial ribbon before it can be cut. So, just like the Queen, Barking Riverside station will have two birthdays.

Some more photos

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14 comments
  1. Maurice Reed says:

    I can see the need for 5 car trains at some point but the bay platform at Gospel Oak can only just take the current trains with no room for extending the platform. Unless they can build up the embankment, move the points a carriage length further east and then extend the platform. Possible but it would be very tight.

  2. JP says:

    That shot of the skyline’s magnificent.

  3. Jeremy says:

    JG
    How embarrassing, day 2 and Barking Riverside trains are currently all cancelled “because of a shortage of station staff” Did TFL overlook something?

  4. Chris Stobart says:

    These are brilliant photos m, thank you.

  5. NG says:

    Will go tomorrow – when it’s cooler (!)
    I note that the timetable is still arranged so that there will (almost-always) be an hiatus just outside Gospel Oak, as the Westbound has to wait for the Eastbound to leave.
    This needs to be fixed, along with the non-connection forward westwards from GO …
    Good pictures.

    • Julian says:

      Those “fixes” are easier said than done. The Goblin has to work around freight movements and c2c services in the Barking area. I imagine the timetable was designed so that timings between Gospel Oak and Barking would remain the same when the extension opened.

  6. Marsha Dixon says:

    Amazing, Barking Riverside finally opened. Endless possibilities for the East End.

  7. Chris says:

    Yet another incredibly shortsighted and overpriced expansion to the TFL network.

    • Keith says:

      Long sighted as it’s allowing new housing to be built

      10 years time it will be much different from today

  8. UCHE MICK CHINONSO says:

    This extension won’t be the last as long as the government (at this point it doesn’t matter who’s in power) is willing to look to the future and fund TfL for the long term. I imagine many long-cancelled plans will be resurrected, including extensions to Thamesmead, Lewisham, Streatham, Croydon and even Chessington. Until then, no more major projects will be green list.

  9. Colin Bricknall says:

    CN you get down from the station to the river boat terminal

  10. Aaron says:

    Pretty sure TfL advised you were not meant to travel on this day…do as I say not as I do, Ian?

    • ianVisits says:

      It’s my job to write about this, and TfL’s advice was to avoid travel during the heat unless essential. It’s difficult for me to write about a station on its opening day without the essential visit to the opening — and I was home before 9am, long before the heat rose.

      If it was acceptable for everyone else to work on Monday, I can’t see why it would be wrong for me to do the same.

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