Posted by Jio Butler on 01 March 2017 01:35 PM
This week, the Gospel Oak to Barking Line has re-opened following an extensive electrification project, and today, the ‘GOBLIN’ is available for Train Simulator!
What is today a vital stretch of track for both London Overground and freight, the line that connects North London to Barking once was a failing area of the network with a troubled history. Thanks to a bout of modernisation under Transport for London, the situation has improved dramatically, from a struggling and poorly kept line, to a vital part of the network that pays dividends.
The history began in the 1860s when a line was opened between Highgate Road and Tottenham North Junction, in an effort to provide the Great Eastern Railway with a West End terminus. With poor interchanges and indirect services, the line was quickly deemed a commercial failure, and had been completely abandoned by August 1870.
It was around the 1860s when the Midland Railway was on its way south to London, tracks were extended from Bedford to the capital via Luton and Hampstead Heath, and were to terminate at a new station between King’s Cross and Euston – London St. Pancras. Two years after the impressive structure that is St. Pancras was opened in 1868, the Midland Railway were quick to acquire the nearby abandoned line and extend it to one of their stations, Kentish Town. A small extension was also built to Gospel Oak, however this was also subsequently left behind.
With proper connections now in place, the line through to Barking and beyond grew in popularity. This period of reliable service wouldn’t last however, by the time the infamous Beeching Reports loomed over many railways in the country, the line fell into disrepair and was plagued by an uncertain future. Thankfully, many lines throughout London were eventually let be, but some struggled to recover, including the line from Kentish Town to Barking.
In the 1980s, the line’s terminus shifted to Gospel Oak after the Kentish Town branch became obsolete following electrification out of St. Pancras. As railways were modernised left, right and centre, the Gospel Oak to Barking line was left in sad state – stuck with old rolling stock that provided a poor service throughout. Things improved with privatisation, newer trains arrived and station facilities were somewhat improved. The major changes would occur from 2007, when Transport for London assumed control of various lines to transform them into a railway that the capital could be proud of.
Better weekend & late night services, newly introduced platform staff, Oyster Card equipment & ticket machines, an extra train per hour in the peaks and a place on the classic Tube Map all helped towards turning over a new leaf for the affectionately known ‘GOBLIN’. New Class 172 ‘Turbostar’ DMUs were also introduced in 2010, these lightweight units form Bombardier helped greatly towards improving service reliability and capacity.
In recent years, many efforts have been put into approving the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line. Cost of the project was a consistent limiting factor, however the works were granted and work began in June 2016. While a majority of the work has been completed over the last 8 months, delays in the electrification project has left the GOBLIN in an incomplete state – the line has still been re-opened as planned, however more work is required throughout 2017 to ready the line for electric service in 2018.
Celebrate the return of the GOBLIN with Train Simulator’s North London & Goblin Lines route, covering over 40 miles of bustling capital operations; full throttle to Barking in the Class 172, take a trip between Richmond and Stratford in the Class 378, before returning and heading for Clapham Junction. Pick a few locomotives from our library and tote freight across London, from containers to coal, Dagenham to Willesden – the numerous connections found in this route unlocks the breadth of operations in the capital.
The main lines included:
Notable freight locations:
The bespoke North London & Goblin Lines is available now for Train Simulator, head to the Store for more details!