Why the mayor thinks some Overground trains won’t stop at Hackney Wick

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 24 September 2019

Are Overground trains skipping stops like Hackney Wick? Picture: TfL

Are Overground trains skipping stops like Hackney Wick? Picture: TfL


Trains are being cancelled or failing to stop at some Overground stations in east London the rush-hour to “speed up the service”.

Mayor John Biggs at Cambridge Heath station... Mayor John Biggs at Cambridge Heath station... "“People rely on the Overground to get to work." Picture: Mike Brooke

Furious passengers have complained to both Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils and have called for action from all four MPs.

"We need to make sure this vital link through east London functions," Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs insists. "People rely on the Overground to get to work."

Some trains even miss stops like Hackney Wick during the rush-hour, TfL commissioner Mike Brown has been told.

This creates fast trains to Stratford—but leaves many passengers waiting furiously on platforms. Often the trains are caught in congestion and have to wait on the track before reaching Stratford, which the local authorities negates the "fast train" programme.

Overground network... vital rail link through east London. Picture: TfLOverground network... vital rail link through east London. Picture: TfL

Delays and cancelled trains are making overcrowding in carriages far worse as well as well as stranding many passengers on the platforms, Hackney mayor Philip Glanville points out.

He said: "People relying on the Overground face cancellations, delays and trains even skipping stations like Hackney Wick."

London Overground has said sorry for the journeys that have been disrupted. Their general manager Rory O'Neill said: "Changes to services are made as a last resort and are sometimes needed to prevent causing longer disruption."

Fewer than 0.08 per cent of Overground trains failed to stop at scheduled stations in Hackney in the last six months, TfL revealed. It is "looking at ways" to improve the services.

Among the busiest lines on the Overground network in the rush-hour are the East London line through Dalston, Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street, Whitechapel, Shadwell and Wapping down to Croydon and the North London line through Hackney Central, Homerton and Hackney Wick to Stratford.

Part of the problem of playing "catch up" for delayed trains is having to share tracks with other train and freight operators on the network, TfL maintains. This "can lead to delays beyond our control", it said. Delays can also be caused by Network Rail engineering and general congestion on busy London routes.

But both Tower Hamlets and Hackney mayors and all four MPs—Jim Fitzpatrick, Rushanara Ali, Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott—are demanding City Hall puts the Overground back on track.

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