Posted 7th February 2013 | 10 Comments

TfL approves Overground five-car plan

LONDON OVERGROUND is to have its fleet enlarged after Transport for London approved a £320 million scheme for five-car trains in accordance with its current Business Plan. The first longer trains are due to enter service on the East London Line by December 2014, with all other routes gaining five-car units within the following 12 months.

A total of 57 extra cars will be needed to extend the current fleet.

Some additional five-car trains may also be ordered, but a TfL spokesman told Railnews no decision has yet been taken about the number of extra units.

A Bombardier spokesman confirmed that talks would now take place with a view to reaching commercial close. He said it was ‘a positive development for Bombardier, and the company looked forward to supporting its customer’.

Discussions about more trains and vehicles have already been taking place with Bombardier in Derby, which built the present Class 378 fleet a few years ago, and also with the Overground ROSCo, QW Leasing.

The additional investment is going ahead because Overground passenger figures are rising sharply and are projected to increase by another 25 per cent within a decade.

A report approved by TfL’s Finance and Policy Committee and then the main Board said: ‘Extra capacity (longer and more frequent trains) has already been provided, as the level of growth is in line with forecasts, but there is now severe overcrowding on some sections of the network at peak times. Demand is forecast to increase by a further 25 per cent on the existing Overground network by 2021, based on population and employment projections in the London Plan. If left unaddressed, widespread severe overcrowding is expected to occur.’

Upgrades in the  £320 million plan include additional stabling at Silwood Triangle and Willesden, reconfiguration of the depots at New Cross Gate and Willesden, and the lengthening of turnback sidings to accommodate five-car trains.

The five-car plan may only be the first stage in developing the Overground fleet. The report goes on to say: 'It may be desirable to provide further additional capacity by the mid 2020s and this ties in with both the end of the current rolling stock lease arrangements and potential changes connected with High Speed 2.

‘Where reasonably practical, provision is being made to accommodate six car trains. It should be understood that even if the five car trains ultimately become as full as current four car trains the benefits of five car are not “lost”; the trains are still carrying 25 per cent more passengers than they would as four car units.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • /\/\ike /\/\undy, Burgess Hill

    David, Guildford, extending to 5 cars will happen as this is NOT a government project, but a Mayor of London one.
    It is the London taxpayers etc who are funding. See Shaun's explanation. It is open for other conarbations to do similar schemes. The Government usually put their hand in their pocket to support, where necessary, well thought out and funded schemes.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Cameron, Manchester That's the price you pay for voting down a C Charge scheme on petrolheads !


    Cameron of Manchester, i am afraid you will be waiting along time and this has nothing to do the Government. This is a full Tfl project which is in the hands of the London Mayor and some funding will come the local london council taxes and business rates paid to the London Mayor.
    I would suggest the best place for you to start would be GMPTE and get them to raise the money for extra trains/services, I know that they have provided funding for some extra units in the Manchester and Leeds areas but nowhere near enough what is needed! Although your fares would have to increase to provide some of the funding, as the Pence per mile is lower than London i'm afraid.

  • Harjinder Singh, Sint-Truiden, Limburg, Belgium

    The government should now also quickly decide to put the Gospal Oak - Barking line 'under the wires' both in the interest of passenger and freight transport operators !

  • Cameron, Manchester

    Yet more money being spent on London! The Government need to realise there is more to this country than London and start investing in better infrastructure in other cities. Manchester-Leeds overcrowded between 6am and 9pm EVERY DAY! They should start investing in other parts of the country or major profits WILL be lost.

  • Martin, Haywards Heath

    As a daily user from Clapham Junc to Shepards Bush this can't come too soon. Current Rush hour trains can't cope and are dangerously over crowded with people pushing and shoving to get it. They regualarly leave people behind.I would guess at times there are over 200 plus people in each carriage!

  • David, Guildford

    First to enter service in December 2014? Must be a typo, no government rail project takes just under two years, it must mean 2041.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    While this is good news it also shows how TFL have repeated the mistake made when the DLR was built when new stations were only made to accommodate a single car which were then doubled to take 2 cars and then a 3rd programe to take 3 cars!

    TFL needs to ensure ALL stations are brought up to tack six car trains and for VFM use the DLR model of stations when upgrading smaller stations like Kentish Town West, in fact some of these stations might benefit by being relocated nearer DLR or Underground Stations to provide integrated interchange something the original Ringrail plans were planned to do!

    As for the East London Line we already know how the failure to enlarge Canada Water when JLE was built means this station already has platforms that are to short but this is eleven worse at the Brunel Stations and raises the question as to whether a new river crossing with new modern stations again with better interchange might soon be the only option?

    Hopefully, this will lead to more accessible stations?

    One final point ISP while Overghround sees major upgrades users of Chiltern local services are lucky to see 2 trains an hour and often little or nothing at weekends. Perhaps the Mayor needs to take over theses services and use DMUs used on Gospel Oak services once that line is electrified?

  • Howard Risby, Brighton

    Now, how useful would a new rail link from Kent/Sussex lines to the East Anglian Network via Canary Wharf be? 1000's could complete their journeys without joining the daily scrummage on the Underground.

    A proposal to do just this exists. Have a search for 'BML2' - probably the project with the most scope to relieve congestion on lines from the south, south east , Essex and Suffolk, plus direct rail connection between Gatwick and Stanstead Airports. Possible connections to Southend, Manston (Thanet) and London City Airports too.


    Wow, what a surprise, put money and improve a line and loo at how it works at bringing more traffic to our railways, maybe the Dft should be looking at Tfl and Overground