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London Overground celebrates a decade of service

Patrick McDonnell
14 November 2017
The London Overground network in 2007
The London Overground network in 2007
The London Overground network in 2017
The London Overground network in 2017


London Overground has celebrated its first decade of successful operations. The operation, which is the third largest rail operator in the UK, commemorated its first 10 years of service on Saturday 11 November 2017.

Over the past decade London Overground has created an orbital route around inner London and serving 23 of the capital's boroughs, as well as southern Hertfordshire.

To celebrate the 10-year milestone, Transport for London (TfL) has published a guide called ‘Out and about on the London Overground’. This showcases a range of sights and attractions that are easily reached by the London Overground, such as Crystal Palace Park, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour near to Watford Junction and the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.

When launched in 2007, London Overground took over services that had been run by Silverlink Metro services. The original network running from Stratford to Richmond, Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction, Euston to Watford Junction and Gospel Oak to Barking.

Over the following ten years, the network has continued to grow, with three extensions to incorporate extra lines - East London line (2010), South London line (2012) and West Anglia lines (2015).

Improvements delivered by TfL on London Overground over the last 10 years include:

  • Increased frequency of trains across the network, from 400 per day in 2007 to nearly 1,500 per day in 2017
  • Reduction in delays by more than a third since 2007/2008
  • Customer satisfaction score of 85% in the first quarter of 2017/18, its highest ever level
  • Greater passenger safety, with all stations staffed from first train to last
  • A ‘turn-up-and-go’ service across the network for customers with reduced mobility
  • Introduction of Oyster and contactless payments, as well as cheaper fare options and all TfL concessions
  • Increased customer numbers from 33m in 2008/09 to more than 189m in 2016/17
  • Six new stations, including Hoxton, Imperial Wharf and Dalston Junction
  • Improved accessibility, with around half of the 112 London Overground stations now step-free from street to platform
  • Sixty-five new walk-through and air-conditioned trains
  • A fifth car added to many trains, providing 25% more capacity
  • All routes integrated with TfL's real-time information and Journey Planning tools

Jonathan Fox, TfL’s director of London Rail and sponsored services, said: “Since forming London Overground in 2007, we have focused on improving the frequency and reliability of services for customers. We have now seen over a billion journeys on the network and record levels of customer satisfaction, making it one of the most popular railways in the country.

“Further improvements will include an extension to Barking Riverside and a new fleet of trains, providing improved capacity and reliability. We would love to bring the benefits of London Overground to more Londoners by taking on responsibility for other rail lines in London in future.”

Will Rogers, managing director of Arriva Rail London, which operates the London Overground on behalf of TfL, said: “Since 2007 our teams in stations and on trains have worked tirelessly to transform the service for our customers and communities.

“They have played a fundamental role in making the London Overground one of the most popular and reliable railways in the UK. As we celebrate 10 successful years, we look forward to delivering further improvements and working closer with the communities we serve.”

Jen Bartle, director of marketing at Rich Mix, East London's Independent Arts Centre, said: “Rich Mix has benefitted enormously from the London Overground's East London line extension. It has enabled us to better connect with audiences, creative people and businesses across the capital as well as the local communities that we serve.”

Future improvements in the coming years will include:

  • An extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line to the Barking Riverside development, helping to unlock travel for 10,800 new homes by 2021
  • Electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line enabling the introduction of longer, cleaner and more reliable electric trains from spring next year with space for twice as many passengers
  • The introduction of 45 new air-conditioned walk-through trains in 2018 to replace 30-year old rolling stock on West Anglia lines out of Liverpool Street and Romford to Upminster routes
  • The upgrade of ticket machines across the network, offering customers greater functionality.


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