Delays in delivering new trains to London Overground’s Gospel Oak to Barking line (GOBLIN) means that travellers will be offered a month’s free travel in compensation.

A fleet of new electric four-car walk-through trains were due to be in service nearly a year ago, however the manufacturer, Bombardier is still carrying out software development and mileage testing before the trains can be released for driver training and brought into use on the network.

The delay has been made worse by a previous agreement to release the older trains to be used by West Midlands Trains elsewhere in the UK.

Two of the eight diesel trains have already been sent to West Midlands Trains and another is due to go this month. The line is already seeing delays, and since November the weekend service been reduced. The rest are due to go by the end of March, which could have seen the line closed entirely.

To ensure services can continue running on the line, three of the London Overground’s electric ‘Class 378’ trains are being modified to work on the Goblin line, and will be used as a temporary solution until the new trains are ready. One will join the line next week, followed by two more between now and March when the last of the existing diesel ‘Class 172’ trains are released for use elsewhere in the country.

The modified electric trains will operate alongside the current diesel trains to ensure the line can remain open for customers. This will mean some trains throughout the day will be two-cars (diesel) and some will be four-car (electric) over the coming weeks.

If the fleet of new trains are not ready by the middle of March, then the service on the Goblin line will be reduced to just the modified trains as the diesel units will have to be removed, although TfL noted that as the temporary trains are double the length of the older trains, overall passenger capacity wont be reduced.

Bombardier will also fund the cost of a month’s free travel for passengers once the new trains are fully introduced. The details of this are being developed and will be communicated closer to the time.

Plans to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking line started back in 2015 when Network Rail awarded a £56.9 million contract for the works. However, a number of setbacks and delays saw the line repeatedly closed, and then the works were not completed on time, resulting in further closures.

The electrification works were eventually completed last January, ahead of an expected delivery of the new trains, but these have themselves been beset with software problems and the deadline for their arrival pushed back several times.

It is still unclear when the new trains will come into service.

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10 comments on “Persistent gremlins means free travel for London Overground’s Goblins
  1. Andrew Gwilt says:

    So when will TfL & London Overground be able to start using the Class 710 Aventra trains that was suppose to enter passenger service back in December last year.

    Has there been any confirmation from TfL and London Overground on where abouts they will start introducing the Class 710 trains in service that is to operate on the Gospel Oak-Barking Line. Liverpool St-Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town, Romford-Upminster. Euston-Watford Junction and on North London Line and West London Line services.

  2. Mike Mundy says:

    Plenty of off lease electric units now in storage and available.

  3. Albert says:

    Class 315 trains are going for scrap almost daily as TFL Rail’s new tramlike things take over. If its a temporary move, why not transfer the best of tge 315s for their last few months?

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Which is why London Overground might retain the Class 317s and to use them as hired for the Gospel Oak-Barking Line. Before the Class 710s do eventually come into service. Which there’s no date on where London Overground will introduce their new trains in service.

  4. Melvyn says:

    This situation raises the question as to whether it was sensible to introduce a brand new type of train into service onto a route which relies on so few trains for its entire service.

    Perhaps it would have made more sense to do what is now planned and downsize a small number of Class 378 trains from 5 to 4 carriages which could operate goblin services and still be available for other services from Willesden Depot.

    The new Class 710 trains could then have been introduced onto West Anglia Services for testing before transferring to GOBLIN one reliable operation has been secured.

  5. Walidick Javeed says:

    This is extremely pathetic behaviour from London Overground because I have waited a year for the brand new Class 710 trains to enter service and I am extremely heartbroken now that this has not happened yet when there was a promise to do this last year in November as I hate the old Class 315 and 317 trains which are disgusting and I wish they would all be scrapped and replaced by the new 710s which need to hurry up and come into service on the Lea Valley Line before GOBLIN! 😭😭🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

    Also why the hell can’t Overground temporarily use 378 trains on the Lea Valley Line like GOBLIN?!

  6. andrej says:

    Please don’t blame LO or TfL for this, the fault lies wholeheartedly with Bombardier and their inability to deliver the 710s on time. What you clearly don’t realise is that the Liv St LO route is an entirely separate driver pool to the LO drivers based out of Willesden who do the Eut-WFJ and NLL and GOBLIN routes. It is not possible to suddenly chuck displaced rolling stock from Liv St routes onto the GOBLIN, as the drivers would need to be trained on the rolling stock. The shorter 378s is the only stop-gap solution, and a small one at that. Of course no one has yet spotted the bigger issue, that the 710s need to be not only certified, software working and mileage cleared for service on not only the GOBLIN but also the Eut-WFJ service which is due to increase to 4tph with the new trains. This is also under threat. And we all know how funny NR are being about TT changes at the moment.

    • Simon Kendler says:

      Yes, thank you. Finally someone who actually understands the complexities of the situation! I get tired of folks who say, why can’t they introduce the 710s somewhere else, or use the 378s or use the 317s? If it was feasible they would’ve done it! Why are Bombardier paying compensation if it was NR or TfLs’ fault? Thank you for speaking sense!

  7. Frank Hornby says:

    They would only have done it if they thought they would need to. In order to save money upon contingency driver training.

    Luckily they are now forcing Bombardier to give passengers free travel as compensation. Bombardier must have been so desperate to keep their business alive to sign this contract for late delivery penalty – ha ha ha!

    Now in 20 years time we are going to wonder why all of our trains are coming from abroad and nobody here knows how to fix them. Assuming of course the trains aren’t crashing due to software hacks from enemy countries…

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