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 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 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.