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Delayed rail electrification costs climb £38.8M

Gospel Oak Barking track lowering 3x2

Extra work to complete the troubled Barking to Gospel Oak electrification scheme has increased project costs by £38.8M, Network Rail has said.

Costs for electrifying the 22.4km line have jumped from £132.2M to £171.9M following a series of errors on the project. In February the line was reopened after eight months of engineering works, but design flaws meant that structures needed to carry overhead lines could not be installed. Late delivery of materials added problems to the schedule.

Last month Network Rail announced extra weekend closures on the line would take place between 29 July and 10 September, pushing the completion date back by nearly a year to January 2018. A review into what went wrong during the design process is currently in draft.

“Once [the review is] complete we’ll be sharing key lessons learnt and what we’re doing to improve the way we work,” said a spokesperson for Network Rail.

“The additional funding is being met through efficiencies across Network Rail’s project portfolio.”

The rail body said the additional money includes compensation to Transport for London (TfL), which has put £25M towards the scheme. It also includes payment for extra materials and design services, and compensation to freight companies for the disruption.

In a paper presented to its programmes and investment committee, TfL said it was “dismayed” that further closures were required, adding that Network Rail had been overly ambitious about what it could achieve during the first closure.

“Clearly this will result in further disruption for our customers, stakeholders and businesses, as well as resulting in further lost revenue,” it said.

The Department for Transport played down the impact of the cost increase. “Our upgrade programme will double the space for passengers on the Gospel Oak to Barking line, with new four-carriage trains replacing the existing two-carriage services, as well as improving local air quality,” said a spokesman.

“We expect the project to be completed early next year and the cost will be covered from within existing budgets.”


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