In a couple of weeks time, services on the troubled Gospel Oak to Barking section of the London Overground are set to get even worse.

This is because the new Class 710 electric trains that should have been delivered a year ago, are still not ready for passenger service and the last of the old diesel trains being used on the line are needed elsewhere in the country.

From Monday 18 March, services on the Gospel Oak to Barking line will switch from a 2-car train every 15 minutes to 4-car trains every 30 minutes.

Modified Class 378 train travelling between Gospel Oak and Barking (c) TfL

Although swapping the 2-car diesel trains for 4-car electric trains seconded from other parts of the Overground means no net loss of capacity on the line, there will be longer gaps between trains, so at least half of commuters are likely to have to leave home earlier in the morning, and get home later in the evening.

The line has been beset with problems for the past couple of years, with delays to electrification of the line, and now delays to the delivery of the replacement trains.

When TfL signed a deal in 2015 to buy 8 new trains for the Goblin line due to be delivered in early 2018, it agreed to cancel a lease for the existing diesel trains, which were then leased onto West Midland Trains for use from 2019.

The new trains were due to be in service last year, and although West Midland Trains has been able to sublease some of the old diesel trains back to TfL, the trains are needed back in order to provide a new Leamington – Coventry – Nuneaton service that is due to launch in May.

WMT has been progressively taking back its trains for overhauling, reducing the service on the Goblin line over the past few months, and the final three diesel trains have to leave on 15th March.

From the following Monday, TfL will be left with just the temporary electric trains it has modified to run along the Goblin line, and the line will have to be cut back to the half-hourly service that’s now been announced.

The manufacturer of the new electric trains, Bombardier, are continuing to solve software issues — having worked through 27 changes already — and needs to complete mileage testing before they can be certified and handed over for passenger use. Initial driver familiarisation has however now begun.

Once software issues are resolved, driver training will start and once substantially progressed there will be more certainty on when the new trains can enter passenger service.

New electric train testing taking place through Walthamstow Queen’s Road station (c) TfL

In the meantime, supplementary buses will give customers an alternative option, alongside local bus routes. Regular customers who choose to take alternative routes via Zone 1 as a result of the temporary timetable change will be automatically refunded the additional cost.

Bombardier, manufacturer of the new Class 710 trains will be offering a month’s free travel for customers on the Gospel Oak to Barking line once the new trains are fully introduced. The details of this are being developed and will be communicated closer to the time

Amended timetable from 18th March 2019

Gospel Oak station

  • Trains will depart at about 20 and 50 minutes past each hour towards Barking

Upper Holloway station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 24 and 54 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 03 and 33 minutes past each hour

Crouch Hill station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 26 and 56 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 00 and 30 minutes past each hour

Harringay Green Lanes station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 29 and 59 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 27 and 57 minutes past each hour

South Tottenham station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 03 and 33 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 24 and 54 minutes past each hour

Blackhorse Road station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 07 and 37 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 19 and 49 minutes past each hour

Walthamstow Queen’s Road station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 09 and 39 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 17 and 47 minutes past each hour

Leyton Midland Road station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 12 and 42 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 15 and 45 minutes past each hour

Leytonstone High Road station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 14 and 44 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 12 and 42 minutes past each hour

Wanstead Park station

  • Trains towards Barking depart at about 16 and 46 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 10 and 40 minutes past each hour

Woodgrange Park

  • Trains towards Barking depart about 19 and 49 minutes past each hour
  • Trains towards Gospel Oak depart at about 07 and 37 minutes past each hour

Barking station

  • Trains towards Gospel Oak will depart at about 03 and 33 minutes past each hour

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  1. Rog Laker says:

    This is the same UK company whose delivery of new S-stock trains for London Underground was put on hold until those already supplied could be made to work reliably. Not at all a good advertisement for Derby-based Bombardier.

  2. Walidick Javeed says:

    This is absolutely fucking ridiculous behaviour coming from Overground as I waited more than a year for the brand new 710 trains to enter service and I am absolutely sick and tired of waiting longer as the old Class 315 and 317 trains are smelly and disgusting! 😢😢😢🤧🤧🤧🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Maybe London Overground should of used some of the Class 317 4-Car units operated on Lea Valley Lines (Liverpool St-Chingford, Cheshunt & Enfield Town) services & Romford-Upminster line that are to be replaced by the Class 710. So it could of been used as a stop gap for the Gospel Oak-Barking Line. And London Overground to retain 1 Class 317 for the Romford-Upminster line.

    Similar to what ScotRail are hiring 10 Class 365s from Great Northern as a stop gap which will soon be sent back to GN when most of the Class 385s are in service including operating on the Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central-Alloa, Stirling and Dunblade services and Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Central via Shotts service following the completion of the Shotts Line electrification between Midcalder Junction and Holytown and electrification on the Stirling, Alloa & Dunblane lines.

    Perhaps these new Class 710 trains will possibly begin service from late Spring (April/May) or Summer (June/July or August). Aswell 5-Car Class 710 to be operated on the North London Line, West London Line and Euston-Watford DC Line services and transfer some of the Class 378s to increase the capacity on the East London Line and South London Line services. With Bombardier also manufacturing the Class 345 TfL Rail (Elizabeth Line) and Class 720 Greater Anglia Aventra trains.

    • Oreste Fuzinski says:

      TfL don’t want to run Class 317 and 315 because these trains lack the proper equipment to run without guards on the GOBLIN. So you’d have to either hire some guards to run the route, or retrofit platform mirrors onto the GOBLIN platforms. Both these options are either too expensive or take too much time for TfL.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      I think the Gospel Oak-Barking Line will struggle if trains were to be replaced by buses because of the delays to the new trains which was suppose to be in service back in December 2018. Same applies with the Lea Valley suburban lines running in & out of Liverpool St to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town will also be feeling the effects. Because of lack of trains and replacement buses will be used. Never mind Romford-Upminster line as its mostly been replaced by local buses at weekends.

  4. James Miller says:

    The three Class 378 trains will provide enough capacity. I say this, as someone, who occasionally gets on a five-car 378 at Dalston Kingsland to go West in the Peak. These must be some of the most crowded trains in the UK, but they show how many can get inside a Class 378.

    I travel on the GOBLIN regularly and since the 378s have been introduced, there appears to have been a marked increase in passengers. I travelled from Barking to Gospel Oak in the Peak and was very surprised how many joined the service at Barking and then how many left the service at Blackhorse Road. Is using the GOBLIN and Dear Old Vicky, the quickest way from Barking to Euston and the West End. You’ll also probably get a seat on both trains.

    I think that TfL by their honest announcement will get a lot of passengers to adjust their route and behaviour.

    I have a feeling that passengers on the GOBLIN will cope a lot better than anybody predicts. But then bad news sells newspapers and gets people to view web sites.

    I also think good weather will help, as a lot of the GOBLIN stations are within walking distance of other stations.

    • Sarah says:

      If I want to go west from South Tottenham I need the GOBLIN. Seven Sisters is walking distance but the trains go to different places! A journey to Barking takes much longer without the Overground. 2 trains per hour means a 30 minute wait if I miss a train. It’s still better than closing the line.

  5. Daniel says:

    Surely “Goblin Line” is somewhat of a tautologous phrase. It’s just the ‘GOBLIN’.

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Doesn’t matter what the railway line is called that serves parts of Northeast London and East London from Barking to Gospel Oak. People living near to close the railway line and railway station will probably face more misery if the new trains are not scheduled to enter service some time this year. Rather rename it as the “London Overground Misery Line”.

  6. Donna Donnelly says:

    We have now had a few years of hell. I’m wondering if the long term goal is to close the line altogether.
    The timetable change last May saw the change of the busiest and most useful train during rush hour. The 8.27 from Upper holloway to Willesden the only through train (pixie train) was rescheduled to 8.42 making it too late to be of any use so subsequently removed altogether.
    The endless months of replacement buses…
    Now this.. Will we ever get to the point where we have a service that was the goal about 15 years ago that the overground will run to a similar timetable to the tube.. Don’t we need trains to achieve that?

  7. Ian legg says:

    Tfl are incompetent and dishonest,we are now almost in June and the silence from all concerned is deafening . This is a cross London service that is being run into the ground. Buses are no use as it takes hours to go from Gospel Oak to Barking . At Bank Holidays the service simply doesn’t run.

  8. Sophie Owide says:

    When will the every 15 minutes service resume done you think? Or is it going to stay at 30 minutes for the foreseeable?

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