Barking to Gospel Oak rail upgrade work could go on until end of year
Transport for London said in May last year that electrification work on the 14-mile line would finish by the end of next month, but it could now take until the end of 2017.
There will have to be more evening, weekend or block closures but Network Rail will not say when or for how long.
Problems with the project — which is funded by the Department for Transport, TfL and NR — were revealed by the Evening Standard in February.
The DfT referred queries on completion dates to NR, which said it was finalising arrangements with TfL.
TfL said it would only make a detailed announcement once NR had assured it that “robust” plans to complete the work are in place.
Glenn Wallis, secretary of the Barking–Gospel Oak Rail User Group, said NR had delayed an announcement until after the election on June 8, citing “purdah” regulations.
Caroline Pidgeon, Lib Dem member of the London Assembly and leader of its transport committee, said: “Between TfL and NR something has gone seriously wrong with the electrification of the line.
"This has been increasingly clear for many months.Passengers were promised a year ago that the upgrade work would be finally completed by the end of June 2017.
“A year later, NR is now blatantly seeking to use the general election as a fig leaf to cover up their incompetence.”
Jonathan Fox, TfL’s Director of London Rail, said: “We continue to work with NR to understand how they will complete the remaining work to electrify the Gospel Oak to Barking line with the absolute minimum further disruption to our customers.”
Faults have included incorrect design and late delivery of the huge masts and structures to carry power cables.
There are also fears that NR resources are so spread out on other projects, including Crossrail works on the Great Eastern main line, that delays to the Barking-Gospel Oak project will increase.
A Network Rail spokeswoman said an announcement on when the electrification work would be completed and details of line closures will be made “soon”, but would not say when. She added: “We are in the final stages.”
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