Network Rail warned by leader of Barking and Dagenham Council not to derail the borough’s growth

PUBLISHED: 14:09 15 August 2017

The Overground extension to Barking Riverside has been approved Picture: Fiona Hanson/PA Images

The Overground extension to Barking Riverside has been approved Picture: Fiona Hanson/PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Pressure is being piled on Network Rail as the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council demands they don’t obstruct the borough’s growth with more delays to infrastructure improvements.

An overrun on already delayed plans “will be unacceptable,” says leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Darren Rodwell.

It was announced two weeks ago the Overground line is to be extended to Barking Riverside. This will support the development of 10,800 new homes and improve connections with the rest of London.

The line is also set for electrification and the work was meant to be completed by the beginning of July.

However design flaws and the late delivery of materials has forced both the finish date and the overall cost to be revised.

The project is now due for completion in January 2018 with two long closures expected - September 17 to October 22 and November 27 to January 14. The cost has reportedly risen by over £40 million to £171.9 million.

In a letter to Network Rail chief Peter Hendy, Cllr Rodwell said: “Barking and Dagenham has already endured eight months of disruption on the line and it’s vital they are not unduly inconvenienced again.”

The Overground line has been closed for long periods while preliminary work was carried out.

Cllr Rodwell said: “I am very happy the line will be upgraded and there will be a brand new fleet of trains, but frankly, as London’s boom borough, we deserve first class transport.

“We are on the right track in getting more investment in our borough, including the new Barking Riverside station which comes on line soon, but we don’t want any more stoppages from Network Rail.

“We are London’s east end engine for growth in homes and jobs and we do not want anyone derailing us.”

Speaking about the Overground extension, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This is wonderful news for east London. Barking Riverside has huge potential to deliver thousands of much-needed affordable homes, and the extension of the Overground will ensure residents have the high-quality transport links they need, both to the surrounding area and commuting into central London.

“Barking Riverside will deliver new homes, schools, healthcare facilities and much more, and the Overground extension is a vital part of making these exciting plans a reality.”

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