London Overground celebrates its fifth birthday today just under a month before it completes its final extension across south London to bring a truly orbital rail service to the capital.
Since Transport for London (TfL) took over management of the railway in 2007, it has set new standards for rail travel in the capital with staffed stations, air-conditioned trains and fast, high-frequency services London-wide. In just five years passenger numbers have quadrupled, with more than 100 million journeys now being made each year on the London Overground and more than 300 million to date.
London Overground has appeared consistently in the top five of National Rail’s reliability tables and has also scored highly in passenger satisfaction surveys by watchdog, Passenger Focus. Early next month, a final link in the network from Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays will be completed, to make London Overground’s orbital network complete.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “From its rebirth, London Overground has become a shining example of how railways should be run. Londoners have flocked to the capital’s new service, enjoying the improved standards and connections it provides. The network will soon orbit our city, bringing a fast and frequent metro like service to thousands and dramatically improving transport options in South East London.”
TfL’s Chief Operating Officer for London Rail, Howard Smith, said: “London Overground’s first five years have seen meteoric growth in both the railway network and passenger numbers.
“We’ve extended the Overground to West Croydon and Crystal Palace, we’ve linked Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington and soon we’ll cross south London to the major rail gateway of Clapham Junction.
“We’ve bought a new fleet of 57 new air-conditioned trains, we’ve built new stations, refurbished old ones with 21st century passenger facilities and we’ve put staff at every station while the trains are running. In north London, we replaced a signalling system and tracks that had been in place since Victorian times.
“In short, London Overground is a perfect example of how – if you put passengers at the centre of everything you do – they will use the services you offer. Londoners want a safe, frequent and reliable service to get them around the capital and London Overground provides it.”
Steve Murphy, the Managing Director of London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL), the company which runs the service on behalf of TfL, said: “LOROL’s challenge over the last five years has been to create a world-class transport system for London from one which had suffered significant neglect.
“We have met this challenge head-on and created a network that now provides London rail passengers with safe, reliable, welcoming and value for money services at all times. Passenger satisfaction has soared and punctuality is at an all time high which is exceptional for a metro style service with more than 370,000 passenger journeys are made every day.”