Council 'talking' to government on improving train provision, leader says

Darren Rodwell in his office at Barking Town Hall

Darren Rodwell in his office at Barking Town Hall - Credit: Michael Cox

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell said the authority is "talking" to the government about improving train provision through the borough.

Last week saw the opening of the Elizabeth line, which stretches more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

But none of its stations are in Barking and Dagenham - with the nearest being Chadwell Heath - and Cllr Rodwell does not believe the borough stands to benefit from the line at the moment.

He wants to see greater government investment in public transport.

He told the Post: "Infrastructure for public transport is a government issue - they haven't invested in it.

"That's why we're saying to them we should have Dagenham East being a c2c station, so you'd be 20 minutes into central London."

At the moment, the borough has two stations on the c2c network - Barking and Dagenham Dock. But the latter is only on the Rainham branch line.

Barking is also on lines operated by Transport for London - the London Overground line to Gospel Oak, the Hammersmith and City line and the District line.

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Overground services to a new station at Barking Riverside are set to begin later this year.

Upney, Becontree, Dagenham Heathway and Dagenham East are served by District line trains.

Cllr Rodwell, who is beginning a third term as council leader, also said HS1 domestic should stop in the borough.

At the moment, the domestic services that run on the line are operated by Southeastern and travel between London and Kent.

The sole stops in the capital are St Pancras and Stratford International.

"It should be Ebbsfleet, Purfleet, Barking, Stratford International" before terminating at St Pancras, Cllr Rodwell said.

"That would be massive for the ability of our young people to get jobs.

"If we did that, it would link Barking and Dagenham into the three main east London termini.

"So these are things we are talking to government about."

The Post contacted the Department for Transport for comment but has not received a response at the time of going to press.