London Overground

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London Overground
Colour on map Double Orange stripe
Year opened 2007
Line type Primarily surface
Rolling stock Unconfirmed
Stations served 57 (initial network)
Length (km) 86 (initial network)
Length (miles) 54 (initial network)
Journeys made (not yet operational) (per annum)
Rail lines of
Transport for London
London Underground lines
  East London
  Hammersmith & City
  Waterloo & City
Other lines
  Docklands Light Railway
  Overground (starts November 2007)

London Overground [1] is the name of the network of rail services in London, England, to be part of the London Rail division of Transport for London (TfL) from 11 November 2007, and of the franchise to operate services on the network. It will initially consist of routes currently operated by Silverlink Metro, and the East London Line (to be renamed East London Railway) upon completion of its phase one extension in 2010.[2]


(For early history of some of the lines making up the London Overground, see East London Line and North London Railway. Also see the North London Line, Watford DC Line, West London Line and Gospel Oak to Barking Line.)

On 20 February 2006, it was announced that TfL would take over the franchising of services then provided by Silverlink Metro. Tenders were invited from potential operators for this service under the provisional name of the North London Railway. On 5 September 2006 the London Overground branding was announced, and it was confirmed that the extended East London line would be included.

There are a number of reasons why this set of routes was seen as attractive for direct control by TfL.

  • Although the Overground routes cover many areas of London, there is some concentration in the north-east, and services to Stratford, and these are expected to support the 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Many of the lines pass through less affluent areas, and the services are seen as part of the regeneration of these areas.[3]
  • The North London Line and Gospel Oak to Barking Line have been considered by some to be neglected and not developed to their full potential.[4]

TfL hope to revamp the routes by improving service frequencies, staffing all stations, introducing new rolling stock and allowing Oyster card pay as you go to be used throughout the network.



A considerable portion of the network will be in Zone 2, as it will mostly consist of railway lines connecting areas outside Central London. However, the initial network will use Euston Station in central London as the terminus of the Watford DC Line.[2] As the name implies, the majority of the network will be above ground, but there are sections of the East London Line that are in cut-and-cover tunnel, and this line includes the Thames Tunnel.

The routes will be operated by a single franchisee selected in early 2007, and will be branded with a version of the familiar London Underground roundel. [2] The line will appear on tube maps [1] depicted with a double orange stripe.[2] Although services will be provided by TfL, the lines will still be owned and maintained by Network Rail. The franchise will be only the third on the National Rail network to be awarded by a body other than the Department for Transport, the others being the Scottish domestic franchise, awarded by Scotland's devolved government, and the Merseyrail franchise, awarded by the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive.


The initial routes of the London Overground network from November 2007 (orange) and with the addition of the East London Line in 2010 (light orange).
The network with all proposed changes in place

Initial operations

Initially, the London Overground will consist of the following lines:

The exact nature of operation on these lines is still to be announced but it is likely that there will be a number of through services from Clapham Junction to Stratford.

East London Line extension

Main article: East London Line

The East London Line (as the East London Railway) will become part of the network when the extension opens in 2010. It will have new southern termini at Crystal Palace and West Croydon, as well as the existing terminus at New Cross. The northern extension of the line will be mostly along the Broad Street viaduct, and the original Phase 1 plans were that the extension would terminate just south of the North London Line, at Dalston Junction. However, the mayor has stated his intention that the link between the North London Line and East London Line be delivered as part of this phase. When this link was initially mooted, it was stated that trains on the East London Line would travel as far as Highbury & Islington, but the mayor implied that there may be through services between Richmond and West Croydon.[6]

Other proposed routes

  • It is projected that by 2026 the Bakerloo Line will be re-extended to Watford Junction [7]. If this happens, the entire section from Queens Park to Watford Junction would be taken over by the London Underground. London Overground services would most likely be diverted from Primrose Hill Junction to Camden Road via Primrose Hill, not currently used for passenger operations, and there could be a through service from Queen's Park to Stratford. The DC line from Primrose Hill Junction to Euston would then see no passenger service.
  • The East London Line extension Phase 2 plans incorporate an extension from Surrey Quays to the South London Line, and along this line to Clapham Junction. This would then create an orbital network around central London, fulfilling the Orbirail concept. However, this extension is currently unfunded.


Franchise(s): London Overground Network
11. November 2007 -
Main Region(s): Greater London
Other Region(s): Hertfordshire
Fleet size: Unconfirmed
Stations: 57
Parent company: Transport for London
Web site:

Franchise bidding

Four prospective operators were initially pre-selected for the London Overground franchise

In December 2006, Govia and MTR Laing were selected to submit "best and final offers" for the franchise. The successful operator will be selected in summer 2007 and begin operations from 11 November 2007.[8]

Rolling stock

The service will begin operation using older stock.[1] Silverlink currently operate the routes using a fleet of Class 313 EMUs and Class 150 DMUs, and London Overground will inherit these[citation needed].

From 2009, the franchise will be operated by a fleet of Class 378 Electrostars to be built by Bombardier Transportation. The East London Line will have 20 four-car units and the remaining lines will share 24 three-car units.[9] This stock will not be able to operate over the Gospel Oak to Barking Line unless it is electrified, which is under consideration by the Department of Transport.[10] If approval is granted, the line would be upgraded in 2008-09; without electrification, diesel traction will continue to be used.

The Watford DC line may be operated by newly-retired Victoria Line stock before it is transferred to the Bakerloo Line.[11]


  • The initial London Overground network will interchange with the following London Underground lines: Bakerloo, Central, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Northern, Victoria.
  • When the East London Line extension opens, the London Overground part of Whitechapel tube station will be below the London Underground part.
  • When this extension opens, the London Overground will contain the oldest tunnel under the Thames, the Thames Tunnel, originally intended for horse-drawn carriages (though only ever used for pedestrians and trains).

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Transport for London - Introducing 'London Overground'
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 BBC London News - London Overground plans unveiled (September 2006)
  3. Network Rail's Draft Cross London Route Utilisation Strategy (pdf). Transport for London (February 2006). Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
  4. London Assembly - London's Forgotten Railway: The Transport Committee's review of the North London Railway (PDF)
  5. Latest Tube Map
  6. Transport for London - Introducing 'London Overground'
  7. Scenario Testing for the Further Alterations to the London Plan London Official website
  8. Transport for London Transport for London confirms next bid stage for London Overground services
  9. Transport for London TfL awards £223m new trains contract
  10. Transport for London (2006-12-20). Transport for London welcomes Government consideration of key rail upgrade scheme. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-01-10.
  11. London Overground & Orbirail. (2006-12-07). Retrieved on 2007-01-10.

External links

Domestic: Arriva Trains Wales - c2c - Central Trains - Chiltern Railways - First Capital Connect
First Great Western - First ScotRail - Grand Central1 - GNER - Heathrow Connect
Hull Trains - Island Line2 - Merseyrail - Midland Mainline - Northern Rail
Northern Ireland Railways3 - 'one' - Silverlink - Southeastern - Southern
South West Trains - TransPennine Express - Virgin Trains
International: Enterprise3 - Eurostar
Airport Link: Gatwick Express - Heathrow Express - Stansted Express4
Sleeper: Caledonian Sleeper5 - Night Riviera6
1 Starts 20 May 2007 - 2 Operated by South West Trains - 3 Operated on the Irish railway network
4 Operated by 'one' - 5 Operated by First ScotRail - 6 Operated by First Great Western

Future passenger train operators in Great Britain
New Franchises: Cross Country1 - East Midlands1 - InterCity East Coast - London Overground1
West Midlands1
Proposed open-access
Grand Union2 - Wrexham & Shropshire3
1 Starts November 2007 - 2 Proposed - 3 Awaiting Approval
Railway lines in London:
North London:  Dudding Hill Line   Hertford Loop Line   Gospel Oak-Barking Line   North London Line   Northern City Line   Lea Valley Lines  
 St Albans Branch Line   Thameslink   Watford DC Line
East London:  Romford-Upminster Line
South London:  Bexleyheath Line   Bromley North Line   Catford Loop Line   Greenwich Line   Dartford Loop Line
 Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop Line   South London Lines   Tattenham Corner Line   Thameslink
West London:  West London Line
Proposed network: London Overground

de:London Overground no:London Overground