Relief of overcrowding on the Barking - Gospel Oak Overground service (2)

MQT on 2016-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2016
Question By: 
Caroline Pidgeon
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


A constituent has asked me to raise this question: There are 44 Class315 trains operated by TfL Rail. They will be phased out from May 2017 and replaced by new Crossrail trains. Yet TfL Rail has invested heavily in the Class315 fleet, giving them a refurbishment in mid-2015, improving maintenance such that TfL Rail has just won a "Maintenance team of the year" award for a great improvement in reliability. These trains are now to be given a full overhaul, yet in twelve months several will be surplus to requirements. Could some of these surplus Class315 4-car electric trains be redeployed to give overcrowding relief to Barking - Gospel Oak passengers?


Answer for Relief of overcrowding on the Barking - Gospel Oak Overground service (2)

Answer for Relief of overcrowding on the Barking - Gospel Oak Overground service (2)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

There are several reasons Class 315 trains cannot be redeployed on the Gospel Oak to Barking line.


The Class 315s will not be released until TfL Rail is satisfied that the new Class 345 trains have been fully tested, successfully introduced and are operating reliably. The earliest possible date for release of the Class 315s is expected to be December 2017, shortly before the new Class 710s will be introduced on the Gospel Oak to Barking line in early 2018. The time period for which the Class 315 trains would theoretically available for use on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is therefore limited.


Additionally, as stated in my response to MQ 2016/4100, the Class 315s are not compatible with the train dispatch equipment on the Gospel Oak to Barking route, and your constituent’s proposal to overcome this involves an old procedure that is being phased out. To make the trains compatible would require considerable expenditure on new train dispatch equipment. There would also be substantial additional costs to train London Overground drivers to operate the Class 315s, on top of the planned training programme for the new Class 710s.


In light of the short period of time between the Class 315s becoming available and the introduction on the Class 710s, these costs do not represent good value for money.


The Class 315 trains are leased from a train operating company, so following their release from service and the successful introduction of the new Class 345 trains, the Class 315s will be returned to the company from which they are leased.