This new railway will bring jobs and opportunities to communities up and down the line
A new era of rail travel for the Capital began today as the Mayor of London and Chair of Transport for London (TfL), Boris Johnson, opened the first section of London Overground's new £1bn east London route, delivered early and on budget.
The railway, which builds on and extends the old East London line, will give Londoners fast and reliable cross-river rail journeys in a fleet of new air-conditioned trains running from Dalston Junction in the north via the City and Docklands to New Cross, Crystal Palace and West Croydon in the south.
It will support the regeneration of some of London's poorest boroughs and provide access to jobs, education and leisure opportunities for many who were not previously well connected to the city's transport network.
The line will open at first under 'preview running' status which will offer a limited service of eight trains per hour from 7:00 till 20:00, Monday to Friday, from Dalston Junction to New Cross Gate stations.
On 23 May, a full service will start operating from Dalston Junction to West Croydon.
Every station will be staffed while the trains are running.
The new London Overground line delivers:
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: 'This new railway will bring jobs and opportunities to communities up and down the line, massively improving access for hundreds of thousands of people.
'In this £1bn upgrade, the old has been fused with the best of the new - the Victorian genius of Brunel's tunnel under the Thames now comprises part of a network of almost space-age stations, which will soon form an orbital railway around the Capital.
'This type of investment is essential if London, throwing off the shackles of recession, is to emerge with the ability to grow, prosper, and secure its position at the summit of world cities, to the benefit of all Londoners.'
Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy, said: 'Not since the Jubilee line was extended over ten years ago have we seen such a transformational transport project delivered in London.
'The new east London route has been eagerly awaited by people who live in, work in and visit the areas it serves.
'It delivers four new London Overground stations and a huge increase in the number of travel possibilities to residents and travellers in a single day.
'It is also an important part of the 2012 transport network and has been delivered ahead of schedule and on budget.
'The new East London line is about connecting communities, north and south of the river, as much as it is about linking east London firmly with the wider London rail and Tube network.
'It will also help relieve peak congestion on buses and Tubes by offering an alternative journey to those forced to travel into central London before reaching their final destination.
'We expect to carry 100,000 people a day in the first year.'
Managing Director of TfL London Rail, Ian Brown, said: 'This new London Overground route has long existed in the planners' imaginations and I'm very proud that after two-and-a-half years of actual construction, we are standing on this platform today.
'This is the sort of rail infrastructure that will take London into the future - air-conditioned trains, turn-up-and-go services and staff on every station.
'In spring next year, we will connect this line with London Overground's existing network in the north and in 2012, the route will be linked in the south at Clapham Junction thus completing the London Overground orbital railway around London.'
When fully operational, 12 trains an hour will run through the core New Cross Gate to Dalston Junction section, providing a turn-up-and-go service.
When the line is connected to the wider London Overground network - in the north by spring next year and in the south by mid-2012 - the Capital's orbital railway will be complete.