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Gospel Oak to Barking electrification

Network Rail is carrying out work to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking route as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

This programme of works on behalf of the Department for Transport and Transport for London will double the current capacity for passengers on the line and improve air quality for people who live and work near the railway.

From 2018, new four-carriage electric trains will provide double the current capacity so that twice as many people can travel more comfortably on this route.

From early June 2016 to February 2017, we are carefully managing a phased eight-month closure to minimise disruption to passengers while we carry out these improvements.

Rebuilding the railway

Transforming a Victorian railway to accommodate electric trains is complex. The track and bridges need to be rebuilt to create the space needed for the electrical infrastructure – the overhead lines that power the trains. For the Gospel Oak to Barking Electrification (GOBE) project, we need to lower four sections of track and replace four bridges.


Discover more about the work we're doing - visit our YouTube playlist

Better for the environment

Switching from diesel to electric trains will improve air quality for our lineside neighbours. The environmental impact of all materials used and our actions have been carefully considered in order to improve local biodiversity. Examples include:

  • using recycled oil and gas pipes as steel piles
  • selecting sustainable materials wherever possible – all timber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
  • delivering over 90 per cent of materials by rail to reduce traffic disruption for lineside neighbours
  • offsetting unavoidable loss of biodiversity locally

Minimising disruption to passengers

We have scheduled weekend working when possible. For example, the preparatory work required to install 550 piles – the foundations for the structures holding the overhead wires – happened over weekends between October 2015 and June 2016. But with one million hours of construction needed to electrify this route, it is too costly and inefficient for all of this to happen during weekend closures.

Timeline of works

24 September 2016 to February 2017 – No service on the entire line between Gospel Oak and Barking

February 2017 – Line reopens

Early 2018 – New electric four-car trains enter operation

Lineside neighbours

We are keeping immediate lineside neighbours and businesses informed with regular update letters and also offer email updates. To receive these, please email GOBE@networkrail.co.uk with your name and address.