Transport for London (TfL) has placed a notice with the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) to kick off the search for a contractor to build the 4.5-kilometre Barking Riverside extension.
The extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line would connect the Overground network to the proposed Barking Riverside housing development, which has planning permission for 10,800 homes as well as new healthcare, shopping and leisure facilities.
Without a rail link only a fraction of the houses, 1,500, could be built on the 443-acre site.
TfL said it hopes to issue a formal Invitation to Tender (ITT) in 2017 and begin construction in the same year. If all goes to plan, services could start in 2021.
Mike Stubbs, TfL’s London Overground director, said: “This vital new railway will open up the Barking Riverside area, supporting up to 10,800 new homes, along with new jobs and improved facilities for the local community.
“The London Overground network has helped regenerate other parts of London by providing a frequent, reliable and high standard rail services, and this rail extension will help Barking riverside to grow and develop.”