'Goblin' line train users face more misery

John Phillips TRAIN users face misery after transport chiefs unveiled sustained weekend shutdowns on one of the oldest overground lines in the capital. Transport for London (TfL) will close the Barking to Gospel Oak Line – dubbed the Goblin – 15 times between now and

John Phillips

TRAIN users face misery after transport chiefs unveiled sustained weekend shutdowns on one of the oldest overground lines in the capital.

Transport for London (TfL) will close the Barking to Gospel Oak Line - dubbed "the Goblin" - 15 times between now and November as part of a �35million upgrade.

The works will improve signalling, and tracks, lengthen platforms, see air conditioning introduced, and boost train frequency from two or three to four services an hour.


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But TfL has ruled out replacing old-fashioned diesel trains and electrifying the line before the 2012 Olympics.

The intermittent closures began with another shutdown at the weekend. Then it will shut down again on Sunday, February 22. More shutdowns will followed in March, April, and August to November.

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Barking to Gospel Oak Line User Group has slammed transport bosses for failing to carry out more work when it shut the line for a month to rebuild three bridges and lower tracks, in September.

Group secretary Richard Pout, 60, said: "We're having nearly a year's worth of misery - it will be at least until October, possibly the end of the year.

"The user group is pleased with the upgrade to the line, but disappointed more work was not done last year."

Replacement buses will run every half hour as TfL carries out the upgrade, part of a Londonwide programme of works to cost �326million.

Mr Pout added: "I'm surprised they can inconvenience passengers for such a long period, and still not electrify the line."

TfL London Rail's managing director Ian Brown said: "We ask that passengers bear with us during these temporary inconveniences, for a long-term gain."

London Mayor Boris Johnson added: "This project is a top priority, as London overground will play a major role in getting people to and from the Olympic Park in 2012. The engineers are all set to fly out of the starting blocks and crack on with improvements.

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