AS THIS issue of Modern Railways went to press, Network Rail was undertaking a series of eight weekend closures on the Gospel Oak to Barking line as electrification work continues. The line was closed for eight months until February this year, but NR did not complete the full work to electrify the route due to design inaccuracies and late delivery of materials.
Work on the eight weekends through June and July will allow NR to install overhead line structures and associated parts. NR confirmed to the line’s user group (BGORUG) that further closures will be required, but plans were yet to be confirmed for this. However, BGORUG reports works to Crouch Hill bridge, one particularly problematic site, may be eased followed the obtaining of a derogation, although this has not been confirmed. NR advised the user group that electric trains will be able to run with the current bridge configuration but the bridge will need to be jacked at some point to improve maintenance access. NR intends to prioritise completion of electrification, and will subsequently plan further works to raise the structure and improve clearance height. BGORUG believes this removes a significant barrier to completion of wiring by the turn of the year, when new four-car Class 710 EMUs are due to be introduced in place of the current two-car Class 172 DMUs.