Barking Riverside Overground extension to continue despite cuts in TfL emergency budget

The Barking to Gospel Oak route is being extended to Barking Riverside. Picture: TfL

The Barking to Gospel Oak route is being extended to Barking Riverside. Picture: TfL - Credit: Transport for London

The Overground extension to Barking Riverside is set to be completed, Transport for London has confirmed - despite work on other major projects being paused.

The scheme, which will see an additional 4.5km of track added to the Gospel Oak to Barking line, was revealed in TfL’s emergency budget as one of the major initiatives to receive a share of £1.4 billion.

Other ongoing infrastructure projects to receive continued support include step-free access works at nine Tube stations, the Streetspace cycle lane scheme and the Northern line extension

But other projects, such as the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry, have been paused due to the financial pressures on TfL in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency budget, revealed on Friday, July 24 ahead of a TfL board meeting on Wednesday, July 29, outlined how the huge loss of passenger income during the pandemic had impacted on its finances.

The loss of 90 per cent of passenger income, compared to last year, saw TfL offered financial support of up to £1.9bn from the government,

Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, said: “Prudent financial management had placed TfL on the cusp of breaking even for the first time in its history and with strong financial reserves.

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“However, the pandemic revealed that the current funding model, with its unusually heavy reliance on fare revenue, simply doesn’t work when faced with such a shock.

“Our revised budget looks to keep our services running safely, while we do what we can to continue the vital capital investment which will help London recover from the pandemic.

“Inevitably, very difficult choices have had to be made about the pace at which projects can be funded and completed. In the current climate, some projects will have to be paused.”

Prior to the pandemic, the Barking Riverside extension had been expected to open late 2021, with four trains an hour running in each direction.

Construction, which began last year, is seen as providing a vital public transport link to the Barking Riverside development, a 180-hectare site which will eventually have more than 10,000 homes.