More delay, disruption and dismay on Gospel Oak to Barking line is unacceptable says watchdog

25 January 2019

London TravelWatch has called for action to reduce disruption for passengers following today’s announcement that the new electric trains for the Barking to Gospel Oak line will be further delayed.

The watchdog is calling for compensation and an exemption from zone 1 charges for affected passengers as well as clear communications about alternative routes and at times of disruption.

London TravelWatch Chair, Arthur Leathley commented: 'This latest announcement is yet another setback for passengers using the Gospel Oak to Barking line who have already faced so much disruption. We welcome the Mayor’s suggestion that the train manufacturer should offer to cover the cost of a month’s free travel for customers on the Gospel Oak to Barking line when the new trains are fully introduced but more must to be done to reduce the inconvenience to passengers. Passengers who need to take alternative routes must also be able to travel through zone 1 without additional charge as they were while previous engineering work was taking place*.'

TfL will be using spare trains from other routes covering Watford to Euston, north east, west and south London until the new trains are available but London TravelWatch is worried about the wider inconvenience for passengers that this could cause.

Arthur Leathley continued: 'We appreciate that TfL are trying their best to reduce disruption for passengers but by using spare trains from other routes there will be more widespread disruption for other passengers if something goes wrong elsewhere. There must be pro-active communication aimed at all passengers affected by these latest problems to ensure that they are aware of alternative routes and modes of transport to make their journeys.’

Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the operating name for the London Transport Users Committee. We are the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • The Gospel Oak to Barking line is a London and south east commuter line connecting Gospel Oak station in north London and Barking station in east London.
  • *Passengers have previously experienced extensive full and partial line closures over the past three years involving lengthy periods where no trains have run. These included complete closures between September 2016 and February 2017 and between November 2017 and January 2018 and also for most weekends over the past two to three years.On 25 January 2019, TfL announced a further delay to the introduction of new electric trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line. They were unable to give a date for when the new trains will be ready for driver training to start but have decided to ‘borrow’ trains from other London Overground routes to keep the service running.
  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and You Tube.
  • For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 020 3176 5941 or 07734 055494.
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