04th March 2019
Transport for London have announced that the all new Class 710 trains for the Gospel Oak to Barking line are still not ready for passenger service but initial driver familiarisation has begun. This means that from Monday 18 March, a reduced service will operate on the line with trains at 30 minute intervals. This is because the diesel trains currently in use on the route need to be released and sent to other areas of the country.
The new trains were due to be in service last year but the manufacturer - Bombardier Transportation - are continuing to solve software issues and need to accumulate more mileage testing before they can be certified for passenger use. Bombardier are being pressed to do everything they can to deliver a fully operating train as soon as possible to end the disruption to customers on the line.
Supplementary buses will give customers an alternative option, alongside local bus routes. Regular customers who choose to take alternative routes via Zone 1 as a result of the temporary timetable change will be automatically refunded the additional cost.
Initial driver familiarisation on the new trains has begun, so customers will start to see them along the line during service hours. Once software issues are resolved, driver training will start in earnest and once substantially progressed there will be more certainty on when the new trains can enter passenger service.
Jon Fox, TfL's Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said:
"We are very sorry for the continuing delay to the introduction of the new fleet of electric trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking line and share our customers' frustration. The manufacturer continue to solve software issues and we hope that driver training will start in earnest soon, which will bring us an important step closer to introducing the new trains. Regrettably, despite our efforts, we need to release the last three diesel trains currently being used on the line. So from Monday 18 March we will need to temporarily reduce the weekday service to a half-hourly service.
Despite the reduction in frequency, by continuing to use the modified four-car trains overall capacity will remain the same. We strongly advise customers to check before they travel and re-time their journeys where possible to avoid disruption. We are providing detailed station-by-station travel advice on our website and station staff will have up-to-the-minute information to help customers plan their journeys."
Author: Darren Porter
Image: Rail Operations Group