After oodles of delays, the first of the long awaited electric trains come into service on the Gospel Oak to Barking length of the London Overground this morning. Which by sheer accidental coincidence is exactly nine years to the day after the London Overground extension from Dalston Junction to West Croydon opened.
Today, two new Class 710 electric trains will join the fleet on the Gospel Oak to Barking line (GOBLIN) in the first step in returning the service on this busy north London line to four trains per hour. The line was cut to just two trains per hour earlier this year due to the delays in delivering the replacement electric trains.
The new electric trains, built by Bombardier in Derby, can carry nearly 700 people, double the capacity of the old diesel trains that had been operating on the line.
Issues with software development on the brand new trains resulted in them being delivered late, but they have now been approved by the rail regulator for passenger service on this line.
Around a third of the drivers on the Gospel Oak to Barking line have now completed driver training. This is sufficient to start operating the new trains and it will continue in parallel until all drivers have completed the course.
More trains will be put into service over time and it is expected the regular 15 minute / four trains per hour frequency will be restored later in the summer.
For regular travellers on the GOBLIN, a month of free travel will be given to customers on the line from September to compensate for the lengthy delays. TfL will be in contact with passengers in the next few weeks to provide more detail on this. The compensation is being funded by train manufacturer.
Eight of the 54 trains on order from Bombardier will be put into use on the London Overground Gospel Oak to Barking line. The remaining will be used on the Watford Junction to Euston route and on London Overground services out of Liverpool Street to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town, from later this year. They will also be used on the extension to Barking Riverside when it is completed in 2021.
The new trains will debut a new colour scheme and unique seat moquette.