Barking to Gospel Oak Line

Meeting: 
MQT on 2018-09-13
Session date: 
September 13, 2018
Reference: 
2018/2215
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Further to your answer to Question No: 2018/1860, I understand that you are mistaken in much of your reply. There have been no additional trains operating "temporarily" on the Barking to Gospel Oak line. The five trains in question (PIXC-busters) have operated since 2013 and until 19 May this year appeared in the published timetable. When these trains did not appear in the 20 May summer 2018 timetable, the Director of Rail gave an assurance that the trains would continue to run until the electric trains arrived in public service. However, these trains ceased to run after 29 June. This is because one of the eight 2-car diesel trains (172 002) that maintained the Barking - Gospel Oak service had been transferred to West Midlands Trains in Birmingham. The drivers' diagrams (duties) for these five trains were withdrawn on 1 July. Since then London Overground has not had enough rolling stock to run the current published timetable reliably, with 20 cancellations occurring on Sunday 22 July, for example. London Overground can clearly no longer operate the five trains in question, contrary to your assurances, so what can be done to sort out this service?

Answer

Answer for Barking to Gospel Oak Line

Answer for Barking to Gospel Oak Line

Answered By: 
The Mayor

As you are aware, I am investing over £300m in 54 new state-of-the-art, British-built, London Overground trains. They will be an important addition to London’s transport network and will help boost capacity on some of the most busy and popular lines, starting, by November, with the Gospel Oak to Barking line.

TfL had expected the trains to be here before the May timetable change and continues to challenge the manufacturer about delivery.

Once it became clear that the trains would not be operating in time for the May timetable change, TfL made plans to retain the current train stock, and committed to running the additional services you refer to at a similar frequency, wherever possible, ahead of the arrival of new electric trains. As you state, TfL operated additional services until the end of June.

Unfortunately, the existing diesel trains have been becoming less reliable as they were due to be overhauled before their next deployment, which has had to be delayed. TfL has therefore recently seen more problems than it had expected with train availability. Furthermore, one of the two additional ‘spare’ trains in the diesel fleet has had to be sent away for refurbishment as part of the arrangement to retain the trains.

To help address these challenges, on 3 September, TfL and Arriva Rail London introduced a bus service to supplement the regular four train per hour timetable in order to provide additional capacity at the busiest stations and times.

TfL has apologised to customers for the disruption that the delay to the new trains has caused, and continues to press the manufacturer of the trains, Bombardier Transportation, for delivery at the earliest possible date.