Featured in the Future Transport London Newsletter January 2023
Following the overhead electrification of the orbital Gospel Oak to Barking line (GOBLIN) completed in 2019 and its eastwards extension to Barking Riverside, opened in July of this year, is there any case for extending it westwards? As well as adding to the number of station catchment areas GOBLIN would serve directly, a westwards extension could give it interchange with the Jubilee line and Thameslink at West Hampstead and with the Bakerloo line and radial London Overground services at Willesden Junction.
However, the existing layout of tracks and platforms at Gospel Oak would prevent that station being served by GOBLIN trains, if extended westwards, without major modification and service disruption: GOBLIN trains currently reverse in terminal platform 3 while freight trains can pass on adjacent Tottenham & Hampstead tracks: new platforms could not be built alongside those T & H tracks without obliterating terminal platform 3 and GOBLIN trains could not reverse there while through platforms were being built (if they are feasible at all).
Just before the pandemic, we had suggested the reopening of Junction Road station (closed during the Second World War) to London’s then Deputy Mayor for Transport to give interchange with the Northern Line at nearby Tufnell Park (as well as serving the local catchment).
Rather than rebuilding Gospel Oak, would scarce funds be better spent creating a new station at Junction Road while trains continue to operate through the site during traffic hours? Once that station opens, GOBLIN trains could call there and be extended westwards from Gospel Oak without calling at Gospel Oak. Interchange with North London Line services would be available at Hampstead Heath.
GOBLIN trains would still be able to reverse at Gospel Oak platform 3, if scheduled to do so, or if required for engineering works or at times of disruption.