London Overground’s Gospel Oak to Barking line is now exclusively operated by new four-car electric air-conditioned trains, doubling capacity, restoring a 15 minute frequency and bringing greater reliability to the service. To celebrate this milestone, and to thank customers for their patience during the delay bringing the new trains into service, the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) are offering customers a month of free travel on the line in September.
The month of free travel for those using the Gospel Oak to Barking line was requested by Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this year. It will be funded by the manufacturer, Bombardier Transportation, and be in place from Saturday 31 August to Tuesday 1 October inclusive*.
The new state-of-the-art trains can carry nearly 700 people and feature free WiFi, real-time information screens, air-conditioning, USB charging points and more wheelchair spaces. The first of the new trains began carrying passengers in late May, and over the summer more units have been tested and brought into service to bring the Gospel Oak to Barking line, which is used by 30,000 people daily, back up to its full four trains per hour frequency. The new electric trains, which have replaced older diesel trains, are also much better for air quality and the environment.
Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: ‘I’m delighted that the new electric trains are now fully in operation on the Gospel Oak to Barking line – doubling capacity for passengers, providing free WiFi and improving air quality for everyone. The month’s free travel, which was requested by the Mayor, is a well-deserved thank you to passengers for their patience, and we have made it as simple as possible for people to benefit from this offer.’
Jon Fox, TfL’s Director of Rail, said: ‘We’re pleased that all of the new electric trains are now in service on the Gospel Oak to Barking line, and are delivering the greater capacity and more pleasant journeys customers have been waiting for. We know this has been a long wait for those who regularly use the line. This is why the Mayor has secured funding from the manufacturer to give Gospel Oak to Barking customers a month of free travel in September, as a thank you for their patience.’
Customers will be required to have a valid ticket or touch in and out when using Oyster or contactless devices during the free travel month. The part of the journey made on the Gospel Oak to Barking line will be refunded, based on the full single pay as you go fare. The refunds will be applied automatically for those using contactless or Oyster pay as you go, weekly or monthly Travelcard users. Longer Oyster Travelcard users will need an online account to get the refund and paper ticket holders can submit a refund claim via TfL’s Customer Services.
Customers are encouraged to switch from paper tickets to Oyster or contactless where possible, and can activate their online account at oyster.tfl.gov.uk. TfL has published the details on the free travel for customers here: tfl.gov.uk/gospel-oak-barking-trains.
Will Rogers, MD of Arriva Rail London, operators of London Overground, said: ‘Working with TfL and Bombardier we are delighted to have now delivered this transformation for our customers and staff on the Gospel Oak to Barking line; giving us increased capacity, a better environment for our customers and delivering greater reliability.’
Phil Hufton, President, UK Region, Bombardier Transportation, said: ‘It’s our pleasure to fund the Mayor’s initiative to say thank you to Gospel Oak to Barking passengers, and to celebrate the arrival of Bombardier’s new British-built electric trains that are already transforming the daily commute on this line.’
Photo credit: TfL