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
  • On 20 February 2006, the DfT announced that TfL would take over management of services then provided by Silverlink Metro. Tenders were invited to operate the service under the provisional name of the North London Railway.
  • On 5 September 2006, London Overground branding was announced, and it was confirmed that the extended East London line would be included.
  • On 25 June 2007 a statutory instrument was laid before parliament to exclude the ex-Silverlink metro lines from the franchising process which enabled them to be operated as a concession.
  • On 11 November 2007, TfL took over the North London Railway routes from Silverlink Metro. The following day there was an official launch ceremony at Hampstead Heath station with the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone; there was also a later media event on the bay platform at Willesden Junction.
  • The launch was accompanied by a marketing campaign entitled "London's new train set", with posters and leaflets carrying an image of model railway packaging containing new Overground trains, tracks and staff.
  • At the launch, TfL undertook to revamp the routes by improving service frequencies and station facilities, staffing all stations, introducing new rolling stock and allowing Oyster pay as you go throughout the network from the outset.
  • After the takeover, all stations were "deep-cleaned", and Silverlink branding removed. Station signage was replaced with Overground-branded signs using TfL's corporate New Johnston typeface.
  • On 15 April 2009 the North London line trains at Stratford moved to new high-level platforms 1 and 2 from low-level platforms 1 and 2, which were needed for the Docklands Light Railway's Stratford International service. The new platforms 1 and 2 are an island platform with step-free access to platform 12 and subway links to platforms 3–11.
  • On 27 September 2009, Imperial Wharf station opened on the West London line, between West Brompton and Clapham Junction.
London Overground East London Line Extension
  • On 27 April 2010, the East London line became part of the London Overground network when the Phase 1 extension was completed. The former London Underground line was extended northwards, mostly along the former Broad Street viaduct of the North London line, to the re-opened Dalston Junction, and southwards to Crystal Palace and West Croydon.
  • Operations began with a limited preview service between Dalston Junction and New Cross/New Cross Gate, with full operation between Dalston Junction and West Croydon/Crystal Palace on 23 May.
  • On 28 February 2011, the line between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington was opened. In attendance were the Mayor of London and London Underground's Managing Director. TfL announced in November 2010 that ridership was ahead of forecast at 92,000 a day, and that patronage at Surrey Quays had "gone through the roof".
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
Acton Central
Barking Riverside
Battersea Park
Bethnal Green
Blackhorse Road
Brondesbury Park
Bruce Grove
Bush Hill Park
Caledonian Road & Barnsbury
Cambridge Heath
Camden Road
Canada Water
Carpenders Park
Clapham High Street
Clapham Junction
Crouch Hill
Crystal Palace
Dalston Junction
Dalston Kingsland
Denmark Hill
Edmonton Green
Emerson Park
Enfield Town
Finchley Road & Frognal
Forest Hill
Gospel Oak
Green Lanes
Hackney Central
Hackney Downs
Hackney Wick
Hampstead Heath
Harringay Green Lanes
Harrow & Wealdstone
Hatch End
Headstone Lane
Highams Park
Highbury & Islington
Honor Oak Park
Imperial Wharf
Kensal Green
Kensal Rise
Kensington (Olympia)
Kentish Town West
Kew Gardens
Kilburn High Road
Leyton Midland Road
Leytonstone High Road
Liverpool Street
London Fields
New Cross
New Cross Gate
North Wembley
Norwood Junction
Peckham Rye
Penge West
Queen's Park
Queens Road Peckham
Rectory Road
Seven Sisters
Shepherd's Bush
Shoreditch High Street
Silver Street
South Acton
South Kenton
South Hampstead
South Tottenham
St. James Street
Stamford Hill
Stoke Newington
Stonebridge Park
Surrey Quays
Theobalds Grove
Turkey Street
Upper Holloway
Walthamstow Central
Walthamstow Queen's Road
Wandsworth Road
Wanstead Park
Watford High Street
Watford Junction
West Brompton
West Croydon
West Hampstead
White Hart Lane
Willesden Junction
Woodgrange Park
Wood Street
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