Long mooted plans to create a cross-river rail link across the Thames in East London are being looked at by TfL.

The impetus is in part due to a 30-year plan to built 11,500 additional homes in the Thamesmead area by the housing association, Peabody, but also to improve transport links in an area that generally lacks them.

A presentation by TfL to Greenwich Council included one slide showing a range of possible transport options. As tantalizing as it might be, it’s highly unlikely that all of them would be built as the aim would be to develop either the DLR or the London Overground link.

There are two core options being looked at:

London Overground

The under construction extension of the London Overground to Barking Riverside also includes passive provision for an extension southwards over (or under) the river to Thamesmead.

Although it had been presumed that this would be a single stop, the map presented by TfL includes extending it to the mainline railway as well, linking up at either Plumstead, Abbey Wood or Belvedere.

Links at Plumstead or Belvedere would have the potential to also then run Overground trains along the Southeastern routes, and of the two Plumstead would be the easiest to link up with thanks to there being enough land around the station to use for the necessary flyover.

A link to Abbey Wood offers a connection with the Elizabeth line, but there is very little space to put the additional platforms, and it would be almost impossible to link the railways to allow Overground trains onto the existing railway, unless the Overground was to follow the DLR route mentioned below.

However, the Overground routes all offer just one additional station in the heart of Thamesmead, away from the planned new housing developments.


The DLR options could see up to four additional stations added along one of two main extension routes.

One option would see the DLR providing an additional station on the north side of the Thames, at the proposed housing development of Armada Riverside, at Gallions Reach.

The other option would see the DLR loop southwards and adding a new station at Thamesmead West – then both lines link up at Thamesmead Central and then on to a station at Thamesmead Moorings.

Here three options could see the DLR take one of two routes to Abbey Wood, or head out towards Belvedere via another station to be built at Yarnton Way.

The DLR option offers far more connections to the railway than the London Overground, but at the cost of requiring additional dedicated platforms for interchange at either Abbey Wood or Belvedere.

The DLR route that offers a connection to Abbey Wood also passes through a long length of public park land fronted by housing blocks, and might prove more problematic to secure planning permission for.

Although not directly related to this extension, the TfL map also shows a hint of a DLR extension up towards Barking, which is supported by a slightly larger map from the Thames Estuary Partnership in Nov 2017.

Other interests

Although Peabody, who are building the Thamesmead housing can be expected to strongly favour the DLR options with additional stations, whether they get the station at Thamesmead West will depend on how strongly the owners of the Gallions Reach shopping centre are able to argue for their preferred station at Beckton.

The presentation by Peabody of what their new housing development could look like also includes an image of a potential DLR station, although the location in the site isn’t clear. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan instructed TfL in 2016 to carry out detailed work on a DLR crossing connecting east and south-east London.

However, funding has not yet been secured for any additional rail links.


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Article last updated: 12 June 2019 20:03


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  1. Andrew Gwilt says:

    What about extending the London Overground from Barking Riverside to Abbey Wood. And DLR from Gallions Reach to Barking Riverside and Dagenham Dock. Aswell extending the DLR to Thamesmead & Plumstead or Abbey Wood.

  2. Al says:

    Interesting to note the Overground links to Plumstead also appear to show a further extension to Woolwich Arsenal.

    If both Overground and DLR links were an option and in the event the link to Abbey Wood proves to be too much of an issue, then it would probably be worthwhile having the Overground link go Plumstead and the DLK link to Belvedere.

    It is otherwise difficult to choose between the two, though should one Thamesmead link eventually be chosen. One would hope the other link follows soon after and directly interchanges with the former at Thamesmead Central instead of as two separate stations on the maps shown.

    • FV says:

      Problem with Overground to Plumstead is that it would miss a Crossrail connection.
      Indeed DLR to Belvedere connecting with Crossrail is probably the best option.
      Should massive funding become somehow available, Barking Riverside to Abbey Wood all underground section would be ideal.

      But a question regarding the DLR tunnel. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper & easier to rebuild the tunneled entry to Woolich Arsenal such that it enters station from the west, and extend that east to West&Central Thamesmead? Then maybe even to Barking Riverside if is either DLR or Overground.

  3. James Miller says:

    Nothing is said in your report about how the capacity of the central sections of the GOBlin and the DLR will handle the extra capacity and/or trains.

    I have been exploring the route of the Barking Riverside Extension and as this will share platforms 7 & 8 with c2c’s Fenchurch Street-Grays service, I do wonder if there should be some cooperation or even consolidation between c2c and London Overground. Perhaps, if Fenchurch Street is redeveloped, there could be a couple of extra platforms, which provide a four trains per hour service to Grays and extra trains to Barking Riverside and across the river.

    This would provide extra capacity to all the housing being built in the Thames Gateway.

    As to the DLR, there is a long-standing proposal to extend across Central London to Charing Cross, Victoria, Euston and St. Pancras.

    This would provide extra trains to go East on the DLR.

    Whatever is done in the West will cost a lot of money, but will be necessary to provide the capacity to serve the South Bank of the Thames

    • Philip Ridley says:

      Anglia Route Study states that GOBLIN capacity can be massively increased with re-signalling and also, a freight loop at Gospel Oak and adjacent Barking Riverside. TfL have also modelled Enfield Town to Barking trains that swap to GOBLIN at South Tottenham.

  4. Dave says:

    In a parallel universe far, far away they are building:-

    Overground to Belvedere via Thamesmead Central. This is because the Elizabeth line is being extended to Ebbsfleet.
    An extended Overground will run from Belvedere to Twickenham via Lewisham (Bakerloo, Bi-mode tram-trains from Elmers End), Peckham, Streatham hub, Wimbledon and New Malden and a West London Orbital extended from Hounslow.

    The DLR in parallel with it’s western extension beyond Bank, will go to Abbey Wood via Thamesmead Central and the Moorings. There’s enough buses serving the area already.
    And the reason this came about is because the London to Birmingham HS2 money pit was cancelled and finance to the HS2 northern area had a massive cash injection. And all by 2030.

    And then I woke up!

  5. Sykobee says:

    My prediction is this will be at the same stage of planning in 2024.

  6. Philip Ridley says:

    The Barking Riverside extension DOES NOT provide passive provision for a route to Thamesmead. If TfL are saying this, it is a blatant untruth.

    The viaduct is at the wrong height and almost all of it must be demolished to make way for the preferred option, which is a tunnel. This was admitted at the public inquiry following my cross examination. To be in the right position, it would have to be lower, with an underground or semi-submerged station. Furthermore, the Masterplan has tall buildings with piling in the way of a tunnel.

    This is the same mistakes made as when the Mudchute to Island Gardens element of the DLR had to be demolished to make way for the tunnel to Greenwich.

  7. Gerard Burton says:

    Any building or extensions of the public transport infrastructure then people will see it as convenient and use their cars lessor not purchase a car the benefits would be slightly cleaner air in the Havering and Bexley areas.
    I was hoping that the Cross London tram services were going be built between Peckham to Camden fkirst mooted by Ken Livingstone.

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