London Overground - A
London Overground - A
London Overground (also known simply as the Overground) is a suburban rail network serving London and its environs. Established in 2007 to take over Silverlink Metro routes, it now serves a large part of Greater London as well as the home county of Hertfordshire, with 113 stations on nine different routes.
The Overground forms part of the United Kingdom's National Rail network but it is under the concession control and branding of Transport for London (TfL). Operation has been contracted to Arriva Rail London since 2016. TfL assigned orange as a mode-specific colour for the Overground in branding and publicity including the roundel, on the Tube map, trains and stations.
London Overground History
London Overground Pre-1999
Rail services in Great Britain are mostly run under franchises operated by private train operating companies, marketed together as National Rail.
The concept of developing a network of orbital services around London goes back to the independently produced Ringrail proposals in the early 1970s. Some of these were evaluated in the London Rail Study of 1974 (the Barren Report) and Barren suggested consideration of a North London Network of orbital services, based on a later suggestion by the Ringrail Group, which involved using many existing rail routes, rather than the new construction suggested in earlier drafts of the Ringrail Plan.
The proposal from Barren was for several overlapping services mainly using the North London line, generally at 20-minute intervals. The suggested routes followed the original North London line service from Broad Street to Richmond, new services from Barking to Clapham Junction, and a third service from Ealing Broadway to North Woolwich.
However, the Wilson government's continuing antipathy to the railways, along with British Rail's management's lack of interest in minor local train services, meant that few of these initiatives were carried forward.
In 1979, the then Greater London Council (GLC) decided to sponsor an improved service from Camden Road, on the North London line, to North Woolwich, opening up a previously freight-only line between Dalston and Stratford and linking it to an improved Stratford – North Woolwich service. This was given the marketing name Crosstown Linkline, and operated with basic two-car diesel multiple units.
The next initiative came from the GLC in 1984, when the government supported the Broadgate development that would entail the demolition of Broad Street station. The closure process was convoluted because of problems in making alternative arrangements for the North London line, and the remaining services operating from Watford Junction to the City. These eventually ran to and from Liverpool Street via a new section of track, the Graham Road Curve.
British Rail replaced the existing three-car Class 501 electric trains (built 1957) with slightly newer but shorter two-car Class 416 electric trains (built 1959 ), leading to overcrowding.
In 1988, by reorganising and reducing services on the Great Northern routes from Moorgate, about 18 relatively modern Class 313 dual-voltage electric trains were transferred to operate the North London and Watford services, from both Euston and Liverpool Street.
Several voluntary sector groups, the Railway Development Society (RDS, later Railfuture), Transport 2000's then London groups, and the Capital Transport Campaign, launched a series of leaflets and briefings promoting a concept called Outer Circle. This name had once been used for a semi-circular service from Broad Street to Mansion House, which ceased during World War I.
London Overground Mayor of London and GLA
The pamphlets and briefings, first issued in 1997, initially suggested a route from Clapham Junction to the Greenwich Peninsula, intended to improve access from south London to the Millennium Dome. However, this was thwarted by architect Richard Rogers who considered that a railway route on a viaduct could cause "community severance", and so the Victorian brick viaduct was demolished.
Nothing further happened to develop this network until after the new Greater London Authority (GLA) was launched in 2000. But the lobbying discreetly continued, with a series of short briefings published by one RDS member based in North London.
Mayoral and GLA candidates were approached to discuss the viability of the Outer Circle concept. The principle was widely supported and was adopted into the first Mayor's Transport Plan, published in 2001.
Meanwhile, a pilot scheme was launched in 2003 to bring several National Rail local services, mainly in South London, operated by Connex South Eastern, Southern and South West Trains under the ON – Overground Network brand. TfL introduced consistent information displays, station signage and maps on the selected routes in South London.
Although this pilot was primarily an exercise in branding, some service improvements were introduced, and it was the first instance of the newly created TfL having a visible influence over National Rail services. The pilot scheme was later dropped.
In January 2004 the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a review of the rail industry in Great Britain. As part of that review, TfL proposed a "London Regional Rail Authority" to give TfL regulatory powers over rail services in and around Greater London.
A result of this consultation was agreement by the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, to transfer the Silverlink Metro services from DfT to TfL control.
Silverlink had two areas of operation: Silverlink County regional services from Euston to Northampton, St Albans Abbey, Bletchley and Bedford; and Silverlink Metro within the London urban area.
When the franchise was split up in 2007, County services were taken over by the London Midland franchise, and the Metro services came under TfL control. TfL decided to let this franchise as a management contract, with TfL taking the revenue risk.
London Overground Announcements and Launch
London Overground East London Line Extension
The incorporation of the East London line into the Overground network has added substantial sections of line in tunnel, including the historic Thames Tunnel, the oldest tunnel under a navigable river in the world.
A peculiarity is that at Whitechapel the London Overground runs below the London Underground (though there are other parts of the network where this occurs, e.g. the Watford Junction to Euston route between Kenton and South Kenton – shared with the Bakerloo line – passes under the Metropolitan line between Northwick Park and Preston Road).
London Overground South London Line Extension
The next addition opened on 9 December 2012, from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction via the South London line, calling at Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road.
The extension uses an alignment between Surrey Quays and just north of Queen's Road Peckham that had been disused since 1911; new track was laid after some major civil engineering works. Passive provision has also been made for a new station at New Bermondsey, to be constructed when funding becomes fully available.
This was put on hold in 2009, although a suitable station 'foundation structure' has been built to facilitate completion in the future.
Funding for the railway rebuilding project was secured in February 2009, including £64 million from the DfT and £15 million from TfL, and construction began in May 2011.
The route passes over both Loughborough Junction and Brixton stations without stopping, and this lack of interchange stations was criticised by local politicians during the planning phase of the project. No stations are planned at these locations as the line is on high railway arches, making the cost of any station construction prohibitive.
London Overground Liverpool Street Station Services
On 31 May 2015 the Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford services, as well as the Romford to Upminster service, were transferred from Greater Anglia to TfL to become part of the London Overground network.
London Overground Network
London Overground Introduction
The initial network, service levels and timetables were a continuation of Silverlink Metro services, a set of routes primarily built and electrified by the North London and London & North Western railway companies in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
As the Overground name implies, the majority of the network is above ground, and it mostly consists of railway lines that connect areas outside Central London, with a considerable portion of the network in Zone 2. The network also uses Euston in central London, the southern terminus of the Watford DC line.
The network interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Northern, Circle, Metropolitan and Victoria tube lines, and also with the Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink and Elizabeth line networks. The Overground lines appear on Tube maps issued by TfL, and a separate map of the system is available.
Much of London Overground passes through less affluent areas, and is seen as contributing to their regeneration. The North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines were previously considered by the Transport Committee of the London Assembly to be neglected and not developed to their full potential.
London Overground Overview
London Overground Owner: Transport for London
London Overground Locale: Greater London and Hertfordshire
London Overground Transit Type: Commuter rail
London Overground Number of lines: 6
London Overground Number of Stations: 113 served (81 operated)
London Overground Annual Ridership: 189 million
London Overground Began Operation: 11 November 2007; 15 years ago
London Overground Operator(s): Arriva Rail London (2016–2024)
London Overground Reporting Marks: LO (National Rail)
London Overground System Length: 167 km (103.8 mi)
London Overground Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in) standard gauge
London Overground Electrification:
25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead
750 V DC third rail
London Overground Network Map
Bush Hill Park
Caledonian Road & Barnsbury
Clapham High Street
Finchley Road & Frognal
Harringay Green Lanes
Harrow & Wealdstone
Highbury & Islington
Honor Oak Park
Kentish Town West
Kilburn High Road
Leyton Midland Road
Leytonstone High Road
New Cross Gate
Queens Road Peckham
Shoreditch High Street
St. James Street
Walthamstow Queen's Road
Watford High Street
White Hart Lane