Work to electrify a key section of London Overground has fallen behind schedule and Network Rail is unable to say when its next phase of track closures will happen.
The electrification of the 14-mile section of track from Gospel Oak to Barking is being carried out by the rail infrastructure body on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport to prepare for the introduction of new four carriage electric trains next year.
It has been reported that the works, which were due to finish next month, may not be completed before the end of the year. Works include erecting overhead power lines on over 10 miles of track, altering the heights of bridges, lowering tracks in a number of locations and removing vegetation.
The Network Rail website states: ‘Modernising Victorian infrastructure in a constricted space is exceptionally complex, and in some areas the design and materials required have had to be changed.’
A Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘We had hoped to be in a position to confirm future closures by the end of April. However we need a little more time to finalise our plan in discussion with stakeholders including Transport for London and Department for Transport. We will share our plans, including details of when the railway will need to be closed, as soon as they are confirmed.’
Jonathan Fox, TfL's director of London rail, said: ‘We continue to work with Network Rail to understand how they will complete the remaining work to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking line with the absolute minimum further disruption to our customers.
‘A number of options are being considered and we will make a more detailed announcement in due course when Network Rail can assure us that plans to complete the delayed works are robust.’
The electrification of the existing line will be followed by a £263m extension to Barking Riverside, east London's largest housing development. A spokesperson for TfL told Transport Network that it was awaiting the outcome of a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application to transport secretary Chris Grayling for that project.