Boost for London Overground users as capacity of key routes increased

06 January 2016

Hundreds of thousands of London Overground customers are now getting better, more comfortable journeys as work to lengthen trains from four carriages to five has been completed.

The new carriages, which increase passenger capacity on the East London, West London, North London and Euston to Watford routes by 25%, will help meet the increasing demand for the highly popular rail service and provide room for an extra 170 passengers per train.

Since Transport for London (TfL) took over suburban rail routes from Silverlink in 2007 and created London Overground, passenger numbers on the routes have increased sixfold and the network has become one of the most popular railways anywhere in the country.

Previously under-used parts of the rail network have been brought back into full use, while services have been radically improved with continuing investment and expansion to parts of the Capital once not well served by rail.

Stations have been brought up to modern standards, with CCTV, better security, a turn up and go service for disabled Londoners and staff present at every station at all times.

The increase from four to five-carriage trains is part of TfL's £320m programme to boost capacity on the network, and the introduction of the longer trains, which began in November 2014, has now been completed on time and on budget.

TfL's Director of London Overground, Mike Stubbs, said: `Over the whole network, we now carry 176m passengers a year, which is six times the number we carried when we took over this railway in 2007. The extra carriages that we have now introduced are enabling us to continue to provide our customers with the high quality of safe, reliable and frequent services that they need and expect.

`It is services like these that connect communities, and support new homes, jobs and economic growth across London.'

London Overground will be able to carry more passengers on the Gospel Oak to Barking route once the line is electrified, and its diesel trains are replaced with electric trains, in 2018.

Last year the West Anglia routes to Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town joined TfL's integrated network as part of London Overground. Rail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield also joined the TfL network and will see significant improvements in preparation for the line carrying TfL-run Crossrail services in 2017.

The proposed extensions of London Overground to Barking Riverside and Old Oak are part of TfL's vision of creating better rail services in London to meet the needs of the city's rapidly growing population and to support new jobs, homes and economic growth.

A consultation is currently underway on extending London Overground to Barking Riverside. Barking Riverside is the largest housing development in east London, with planning permission for up to 10,800 new homes, as well as healthcare, shopping, community and leisure services.

A proposed London Overground extension to Old Oak Common came a step closer when TfL recently secured funding from the European Commission (EC) to progress the development of options for new London Overground stations in the area.

Connectivity between HS2, Crossrail and the London Overground is essential to the transformation of Old Oak Common and the regeneration of Park Royal, one of the Mayor of London's key Opportunity Areas, supporting 65,000 jobs and 25,500 new homes.

To accommodate the longer five-car trains a programme of infrastructure upgrades has been required. These include:

  • Construction of a new train stabling facilities at Silwood, south east London and also in Wembley;
  • Reconfiguration of the existing maintenance depots at New Cross Gate and Willesden.