PHILIP SHERRATT reports on progress with the London Overground extension into a new riverside development dubbed ‘Barcelona-on-Thames’
The London Overground network is set to grow further next year. Construction is well underway on the 4.5km Barking Riverside extension (BRE), which will be served by quarter-hourly trains from Gospel Oak.
The driver for the extension is the Barking Riverside development, where plans are taking shape for 10,800 new homes, new schools and community facilities. The railway is critical to this: the number of occupied homes cannot exceed 4,000 without the new public transport link BRE will provide, the emphasis being on residents at Barking Riverside not needing to own a car. Once the line is open, the journey time from Barking to Barking Riverside will be just seven minutes, compared to around 25 minutes by bus at present.
The extension initially follows the Tilbury branch of the Essex Thameside route east of Barking station. Gospel Oak trains will be diverted away from the current bay platform 1 to platforms 7 and 8, used by c2c’s Tilbury loop services. Minimal work is needed at Barking in connection with the extension: there will be minor platform enabling works to allow Class 710s to call at platforms 7 and 8, while platform 1 will be retained for use when required.