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Still no date for normal service on troubled Barking to Gospel Oak line

PUBLISHED: 10:02 22 May 2019

A Class 710 train on a late night testing run on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. Picture: TfL

A Class 710 train on a late night testing run on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. Picture: TfL

© Transport for London

A date has still not been set for when a troubled Overground line can run properly again, an MP has confirmed.

Dame Margaret Hodge, who represents Barking, met with Transport for London (TfL) to discuss the issues surrounding the Barking to Gospel Oak line.

The route is currently running with a reduced weekday service - one train every half an hour in each direction - and no weekend service due to a lack of trains.

Dame Margaret said that the meeting with TfL's government relations team had been "productive".

She said: "I raised the importance of getting back a regular service on the Barking-Gospel Oak Overground line.

"They failed to give me an exact date for normal service to resume, but confirmed progress was being made and there are no new major obstacles.

"I will be meeting again with Transport for London in a couple of weeks to chase this issue and finally get a concrete date regarding when the reduced frequency service ends."

The new electric Class 710 trains are more than a year late in being introduced to the route due to software problems, but the previous diesel trains had to be transferred to West Midlands Trains once the lease ran out earlier this year.

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Three Class 378 electric trains were borrowed to enable commuters to continue using the line with a reduced frequency, with replacement bus services supplementing part of the route.

Dame Margaret added: "I am glad that the train builders, Bombardier, will now be offering regular passengers a month's free travel as compensation for the inconvenience.

"I will continue to call for all commuters to receive a refund for the price difference if they are forced to take an alternative route in the meantime."

It is almost three years since electrification work began on the line, with it being closed for eight months from June 2016 so overhead wiring could be installed.

. But the wires were "incorrectly designed" by Network Rail, and materials were delivered late.

That resulted in another two-month closure at the end of 2017 and it was hoped the new trains would be up-and-running in January last year.

TfL have been contacted for comment.

For more information about the line and its temporary timetable, visit tfl.gov.uk/gospel-oak-barking-trains

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