In an empty wasteland surround by a mix of empty fields and derelict buildings, a brand new railway station is being built for the London Overground.
This is Barking Riverside, an area that is currently being turned into a new town filled with over 10,000 new homes, and in need of a railway line for commuters to get to work.
A railway was always planned for the development, indeed, it’s a requirement of the planning permission for the houses that a railway is provided. Originally expected to be an extension of the DLR but that was put on hold in favour of extending the London Overground.
A new length of the railway will lead off from the existing C2C railway line, and curve around the edge of the new housing estate down to the station which will be towards the south-western end of the Riverside development.
Passive provision is also being included for an extra station at Renwick Road, for another planned housing development, and for a tunnel under the Thames to Thamesmead.
By sheer coincidence, the new station will be on the site of a large set of cargo railway sidings that used to serve the massive power station that occupied a large plot of riverside land now occupied by light industrial and the area’s famous Sunday market.
One of the advantages of developing the station now is that it’s much easier to build the heavy infrastructure while the area is still lacking too many people living here to complain about the noise. It also has to be one of the largest railway construction sites I have seen in many years, as most tend to be exceptionally cramped sites crushed in by other buildings.
At the moment, they’ve clearly laid out the core structure for the new station, and also the viaduct leading up to the elevated platforms.
As is often the case with brownfield sites, no matter how much planning is done to check everything is OK, unplanned problems can occur, and this site has come across a lot of utility works, mainly a Thames Water pipe and telecoms cabling that was not on older plans of the area.
They sit under the piers that will hold up the railway viaduct, and while the piers could be moved, that then means different loads on the railway spans, causing changes to those designs as well.
These are now having to be dealt with, which is causing worries about delays and costs, but at the moment, the concerns aren’t leading to revised opening dates for the new railway.
All going well, the new station, due to be placed in Zone 4 on the tube map should open in December 2021, offering four trains per hour at first.
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.