Work on the £263m London Overground extension to Barking Riverside will start next summer, Transport for London (TfL) announced today, after the project got approval from government.
TfL has been given the go-ahead by transport secretary Chris Grayling for construction to commence on the 4.5km extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. It said the development will unlock the building of 10,800 new homes, with up to 50 per cent of them set to be affordable.
The extension means Overground services will reach a new station in Barking Riverside, with construction starting next summer, and train services then expected to start in late 2021.
A letter from the Department of Transport, confirmed Grayling was satisfied that "there is a substantial public benefit from providing a sustainable fixed public transport link to the Barking Riverside development".
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said:
This is wonderful news for East London. Barking Riverside has huge potential to deliver thousands of much-needed affordable homes, and the extension of the Overground will ensure residents have the high-quality transport links they need, both to the surrounding area and commuting into central London.
Barking Riverside will deliver new homes, schools, healthcare facilities and much more, and the Overground extension is a vital part of making these exciting plans a reality.
TfL said the extension is fully funded, with £172m of the £263m cost of the project being met by the developers, Barking Riverside Limited, with the remainder partially coming from TfL's growth fund, contributing to schemes that have a direct impact on unlocking housing and employment growth.
The contract to construct the railway is expected to be awarded in spring next year.
Four new electric London Overground trains will be run an hour, featuring air conditioning and walk-through carriages.
Network Rail is currently electrifying the Gospel Oak to Barking route, though those works have been significantly delayed. They were due to finish in June, but have now been delayed until January 2018, with weekend closures running until 10 September and two longer closures proposed for Sunday 17 September to 22 October and Monday 27 November to Sunday 14 January.
Along the 14-mile route, a number of the structures carrying the overhead lines were incorrectly designed and couldn't be installed at the planned locations. Further delays were caused by late delivery of materials and structures.
The Barking Riverside extension is the latest boost for the Overground though, after the mayor announced last month that the Night Tube was coming to the Overground too.