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Go-ahead for £263M TfL rail extension

Barking riverside

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has given the go ahead for the extension of the London Overground in the east of the capital – but work won’t start until next year.

Grayling acted in accordance with planning inspector recommendations in granting an order under the Transport and Works Act for the Barking Riverside Extension.   

This allows Transport for London (TfL) to begin work on the £263M project to take the existing line to a new station at Barking Riverside, where 10,000 homes are being built. TfL’s website says construction of the project could begin this year, with services using the extension by 2021. However TfL today told NCE the construction contract would not be awarded until next summer. Balfour Beatty, Carillion and Volker Fitzpatrick were last year shortlisted for construction of the extension project, which will involve 1.6km of new track.

TfL director of city planning Alex Williams said: “It is fantastic news that final approval has been given for the extension of London Overground to Barking Riverside today. 

“The extension is an important part of the mayor’s Transport Strategy to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by improving public transport. We can now move forward with planning the next stages of the fully-funded project with certainty with construction of the link due to begin next year.”

A letter from the Department for Transport, published on Friday, said the planning inspector noted that the Barking Riverside development was very isolated in transport terms.

“Its development is therefore dependent upon provision of new public transport infrastructure, specifically new rail infrastructure, not just to provide sustainable accessibility but to overcome the perception of remoteness,” said the letter.

It added: “The secretary of state is satisfied that there is a substantial public benefit from providing a sustainable fixed public transport link to the Barking Riverside development and this would outweigh the very limited harm to private individuals.”

Up to four trains an hour are expected to use the extension.

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