ELECTRIFICATION OF THE GOSPEL OAK - BARKING ROUTE

Meeting: 
MQT on 2010-03-17
Session date: 
March 17, 2010
Reference: 
2010/1232
Question By: 
John Biggs
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Is it not the case that the electrification of the Gospel Oak - Barking route would bring substantial benefits to TfL London Rail? In your letter of 6th May 2009 to the Secretary of State you state that the business (benefit) cost ratio (BCR) of the scheme came out 'at 3.9 which is very good for a rail scheme.' Did this outline appraisal take into account that the circa £45m total cost 'guesstimate' of the 2006 Jacobs study for TfL London Rail which included a 40% optimism bias for risk and contingency is now outdated since:- 1) Signalling immunisation and overhead line clearance works have been now been carried out as part of the recent £35m TIF/Network Rail funded gauge enhancement and signalling works; 2) Some two miles of the route are to be electrified in 2011 as part of the Thameslink project; 3) The 144 TfL London Rail sponsored passenger trains a day in the full 4 trains per hour timetable (from May 2011 at the latest) would be electrically powered, eliminating emissions. This is a far higher proportion of the line's daily traffic than freight; 4) The entire London Rail Concession could be ultimately operated by an all electric train fleet, cutting out the costs of maintaining a separate fleet of diesels; 5) Full electrification of the London Overground network with an entirely electric train fleet would allow the long promised Barking-Clapham Junction and other new services to operate; 6) The electrification of the Barking-Gospel Oak route would allow a significant increase in the electrical haulage of freight trains over both Barking-Gospel Oak and North London Lines as operators would be able use electric locomotives currently stored through lack of work. This reduction of diesel locomotive use would further assist in achieving your emissions targets.

In view of the above benefits and the fact that the cost of the electrification of the remaining un-electrified sections of the route would now be very close to the £25m already offered by the Secretary of State towards the work, should you not be urgently seeking to resolve the nine month impasse over the missing £200k that would allow the GRIP 3 evaluation to proceed?

Answer

Answer for ELECTRIFICATION OF THE GOSPEL OAK - BARKING ROUTE

Answer for ELECTRIFICATION OF THE GOSPEL OAK - BARKING ROUTE

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking route would indeed bring benefits to TfL London Rail and even more to the rail industry more generally, notably rail freight. 75% of the benefits generated by the project accrue to freight. For these reasons, I support the idea, and have included it within my Transport Strategy.

However, there are not unlimited funds. Hence I have often repeated the need for a definitive engineering study to provide a better cost estimate and an understanding of the risks. This would also take account of all the many changes that have occurred in the period since the original 2006 'guesstimate'. As detailed in my response to Mayoral Question 856/2010, I have offered to part fund this study to progress the project but have not received a positive response from the DfT or other stakeholders to date.

I will continue to work with the Secretary of State for Transport, Network Rail and other stakeholders to progress the scheme in a manner that acknowledges the benefits to all the rail industry in the round.