UK Transport Wiki

{.{Tubeportal}} {.{Infobox Public transit|image = London_Overground_logo.svg|transit_type = Regional rail|lines = 4 (5 by 2012)|stations = 55|owner = Transport for London|operator = London Overground Rail Operations Ltd
(until 2014 or 2016)|track_gauge = Standard}}

File:Going round in circles, Overground (Longer Version)-0

Extended Version of the 'Race around the Overground' video.


London Overground[1] is a train operating company that provides railway services presently concentrated in north, west and east London.

On 11 November 2007 it took over the North London Railway routes of Silverlink Metro. The East London line will fall under the control of the network upon completion of its Phase 1 extension in 2010, as the East London Railway.[2] London Overground services remain part of the National Rail network, but the contracting authority is Transport for London, rather than central Government (similar to the model adopted for Merseyrail).

The routes are branded with a version of the London Underground roundel (coloured orange with a darker blue bar)[2] and are shown on Underground maps[1] with a double orange stripe.[2] The lines continue to be owned and maintained by Network Rail, although the Dalston-New Cross section of the East London Railway will remain TfL property when it becomes part of the Overground. The Overground is best described as a Commuter rail system, especially as many of the lines share traffic with freight services, although there is an intention to introduce metro frequencies eventually on all the routes.


{.{Infobox Rail companies

| bgcolor = FFFFFF
| image_filename =West Brompton sign2.jpg
| widthpx = 300px

|logo_filename = london overground type.PNG |abbr=LO

| franchise = London Overground[3]
11 November 2007 - 2014
(optional 2016)
| nameforarea = Region
| regions = Greater London
| secregions = Hertfordshire
| stations = 55
| fleet = Unconfirmed
| parent_company = Transport for London
| website =

}} {.{imagestack|


London Overground Rail Operations Limited

File:London overground newtrainset.png

A poster promoting the newly-launched London Overground

File:Kilburn High Road station Entrance.jpg

Kilburn High Road station with Overground signage


{.{for|the early history of some of the lines making up the London Overground|East London line|North London Railway|North London Line|Watford DC Line|West London Line|Gospel Oak to Barking Line}}

Initial announcements[]

On 20 February 2006, it was announced by the Department for Transport that TfL would take over management of services then provided by Silverlink Metro. Tenders were invited from potential contractors to operate the 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.

Although the routes cover many areas of London, there are reasons why TfL would see them as attractive for direct control, including that:

  • There is some concentration in the north-east, including services to Stratford, which are expected to support the 2012 Summer Olympics;
  • They pass through less affluent areas, and the services are seen as part of the regeneration of these areas;[4] and
  • The North London and Gospel Oak to Barking lines have been considered by some to be neglected and not developed to their full potential.[5]


Following a model similar to that already used for the Docklands Light Railway, TfL tendered out for potential operators of the London Overground. Unlike National Rail franchisees, the operator would not be responsible for setting fares, procuring rolling stock, or deciding service levels, all of which would be managed by TfL. They would, however, take an element of revenue risk (TfL take 90% of the revenue risk, 10% of revenue is retained by the operator, and the operator is responsible for revenue collection.)

The initial bidders for the concession were MTR Laing, a 50/50 joint venture between MTR Corporation and Laing Rail, Govia, National Express Group (the incumbent operator of Silverlink), and NedRailways. In December 2006, this was narrowed to just Govia and MTR Laing, who were selected to submit their ‘best and final offers’,[6] and on 19 June 2007 it was announced that MTR Laing had been selected.[7]

The formal contract was signed on 2 July 2007. The contract is due to last seven years, with the option of a two-year extension.[8] In preparation for the launch of London Overground, MTR Laing rebranded themselves as London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL).

In December 2007, Henderson Group, the parent company of John Laing plc announced the sale of the Laing Rail division, which comprises half of LOROL, as well as the franchise Chiltern Railways and a stake in the open-access railway operator Wrexham & Shropshire. In January 2008 Deutsche Bahn announced it had bought Laing Rail. The price is told to be around 170 million.


London Overground came into service on 11 November 2007. The launch was accompanied by a marketing campaign entitled "London's new train set", with posters and leaflets carrying an image of a model railway retail package containing the new Overground trains, tracks and staff.[9]

The official launch was on 12 November 2007 at Hampstead Heath railway station by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, with a later media event being held on the disused bay platform at Willesden Junction station.

At the launch TfL undertook to revamp the routes by improving service frequencies, staffing all stations, improving station facilities, introducing new rolling stock and by allowing Oyster card pay as you go to be used throughout the network from the outset.[10]

All stations are being "deep-cleaned"[11] following the TfL takeover and all Silverlink branding removed. Station signage is being gradually replaced with London Overground-branded signs using TfL's corporate New Johnston typeface. Temporary adhesive signs are initially in use at some stations, but they will eventually be replaced with full-size enamel platform name signs using the orange and blue London Overground roundel as station refurbishment progresses.[11][12]

Current system[]


The initial network, service levels and timetables are a direct continuation of Silverlink Metro services. As the Overground name implies, the vast majority of the network is above ground, mostly consisting of railway lines connecting areas outside Central London, with a considerable portion of the network in Zone 2. The current network also uses Euston in central London, as it is the southern terminus of the Watford DC Line [2][13].


File:London Overground 2007.png

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).

info Diagrammatic map of London Overground (Nov 2007)

London Overground currently consists of the following lines:

The network interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines and also the Docklands Light Railway. TfL have issued a diagrammatic map of London Overground in the familiar Tube map style, showing these interchanges. {.{clear}}


The following stations are on the first phase of the London Overground network from November 2007:

North London Line West London Line Watford DC Line Gospel Oak - Barking Line

* Step free access on eastbound platform only

  • Willesden Junction {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{Access icon}}
  • Shepherd's Bush {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{Access icon}}(under construction)
  • Kensington (Olympia) {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{rail-interchange|london|rail}} {.{Access icon}}
  • West Brompton {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}} {.{Access icon}}
  • Imperial Wharf (proposed)
  • Clapham Junction {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}}
  • London Euston {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}} {.{Access icon}}
  • South Hampstead
  • Kilburn High Road
  • Queen's Park {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Kensal Green {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Willesden Junction {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{Access icon}}
  • Harlesden {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Stonebridge Park {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Wembley Central {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}}
  • North Wembley {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • South Kenton {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Kenton {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}}
  • Harrow & Wealdstone {.{rail-interchange|london|underground}} {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}} {.{Access icon}}
  • Headstone Lane
  • Hatch End
  • Carpenders Park {.{Access icon}}
  • Bushey {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}}
  • Watford High Street
  • Watford Junction {.{rail-interchange|gb|rail}} {.{Access icon}}


File:LO ticket.png

London Overground ticket based on same design as National Rail tickets but with a Transport for London roundel in the background/relief

Ticketing on London Overground uses a mix of paper and the electronic smart card known as the Oyster Card. As with existing National Rail services in London, passengers may use a Travelcard (daily, three-day, seven-day, monthly and annual) as well as paper single, return and cheap day return tickets priced under the zonal scheme. In addition, TfL now permit the use of Oyster "pay-as-you-go" (PAYG) which allows passengers to load a cash value onto their Oyster card, and have the relevant fare deducted at the end of their journey.

As part of an effort to improve safety and revenue protection, TfL have also announced that they will introduce ticket barriers at a number of stations. The remaining stations have been fitted with standalone Oyster Card readers similar to those found at ungated London Underground and DLR stations.

The ticket stock for London Overground continues to be common National Rail stock (as London Overground services remain part of the National Rail network) but with a large TfL Roundel in the centre and repeated legend "Rail Settlement Plan" in a light green background.

Ticket pricing[]

Paper tickets are charged at the old Silverlink prices which are not the same as, and generally lower than, either the National Rail zonal fares for London or London Underground fares. For example, the ticket above shows that the adult single fare between Harrow & Wealdstone (Zone 5) and Hatch End (Zone 6) costs £1.50. This would cost £1.90 under the National Rail zonal fare system and £3.00 under the London Underground pricing system.

Oyster PAYG is charged on the same zone based rules as for the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway. Oyster is generally cheaper than paper tickets, for example, the journey between Harrow & Wealdstone and Hatch End would have cost £1.00 if Oyster PAYG had been used. Stations outside Greater London, except for Watford Junction, are included in the newly created Travelcard Zones 7-9.[15] Acton Central, Hampstead Heath and Willesden Junction were re-zoned on 2 January 2008 (from 2 to 3, 3 to 2 and 3 to 2/3 respectively),[15] which will also reduce some zone-based fares.


The public presentation of London Overground is visually associated with existing TfL design standards, using identical graphic design elements to those used on London Underground publicity, signage and other elements, drawing on the design heritage of Harry Beck. Eventually these design standards will be applied to the new fleet of trains.

Most obviously, the Overground uses the familiar Tube roundel, originally devised for London Underground and now established as the corporate branding for all TfL services. The roundel is a blue bar on an orange circle. In common with other TfL services, London Overground is denoted by a sector colour, a vivid orange, specified as Pantone 158C. This colour was inherited from the former East London line, whose operations are to be incorporated into the Overground system.

London Overground also appears on the Tube map in its corporate orange. Concurrent with the presentation of the DLR, London Overground is shown as a double stripe rather than a solid line, to denote its status as a franchised line operating within the TfL network.

Corporate signage, stationery and literature all use the New Johnston typeface in common with other TfL services.[16]


Although the Overground network now features TfL-style branding, it is still monitored for performance as part of the national rail network, unlike London Underground services. The first figures released by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), for October to December 2007, showed the network had achieved 89.3% of the Public Performance Measure (PPM) target for punctuality and reliability set by the ORR. This was 1% better than the equivalent quarter the year before and 2.9% better than the average PPM for all regional railway companies. [17].

Rolling stock[]

File:Overground Branding on 508303.jpg

Overground branding on a Class 508 coach in Silverlink livery

The service has begun operation using the rolling stock inherited from Silverlink on all routes except the East London line, using a fleet of Class 313 EMUs, Class 508 EMUs and Class 150 DMUs. However, TfL committed to introducing brand new rolling stock to the service, including the East London line, over three to five years. As of 2009, the electrified lines are operated by a fleet of Class 378 Electrostars built by Bombardier Transportation. The East London Railway will initially have 20 four-car units and the North London Railway 24 three-car units.[1] In 2011, the North London Railway fleet was extended to four cars and the East London Railway gained three extra trains.[18]

The Class 378 stock will not be able to operate over the Gospel Oak to Barking Line as it is not electrified. While electrification is advocated by Transport for London, local boroughs and passenger groups, it has not been included as part of Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy for the Cross London Route.[5] Instead, TfL has indicated that it intends to use new two-car Class 172 Turbostar diesel trains on this route from 2009.[19] MTR/Laing will lease 8 two-car units of this stock from a ROSCO, rather than them being purchased by TfL direct, as was planned with the Class 378 units.[20] The 8 Class 172/0 units were ordered by Angel Trains on behalf of TfL in November 2007.[21] In February 2008, it was announced that TfL would lease rather than purchase its order of Class 378 EMU stock. This will be done through a newly formed ROSCO named QW Rail Leasing, with the duration of the lease running until 2027. TfL took this option to free up the £250 million capital cost of purchase, combined with reducing the risk of making a loss through any future sell-on of the fleet.[22]

The Watford DC line may be operated by newly-retired Victoria Line 1967 Stock trains before it is transferred to the Bakerloo Line.[23]


Current fleet[]

 Class  Image Type  Top speed   Number   Cars per set   Seat layout   Number of seats   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 150/1 100px diesel multiple unit 75 120 date=November 2007}} 2 2+3 (high density) 146 Gospel Oak-Barking 1985-86
Class 313/1 100px electric multiple unit 75 120 23 3 2+2/2+3 (high density) 228 North London;
Watford DC;
West London
(Refurbished 1997-2002)
Class 508/3 100px electric multiple unit 75 120 3 3 2+2/2+3 (high density) 230 Watford DC Line 1979-1980 (Refurbished 2003)

Future fleet[]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Cars per set Seat layout Routes operated Built
mph km/h
Class 172/0 Turbostar 100px diesel multiple unit 75 120 8 2 2+3 Gospel Oak-Barking 2009
Class 378 Electrostar 100px electric multiple unit 75 120 54 4 Longitudinal North London
Watford DC
West London
East London


As of 2008, all London Overground trains remain in Silverlink's purple and lime green livery with yellow doors. Silverlink logos have been removed and London Overground banners have been added to most units. It is not expected that any more cosmetic changes will be made to the livery and interiors until the delivery of the new rolling stock.

TfL's artist impressions of the future stock show them in a new livery, similar to London Underground's, which has blue and white coaches with orange doors and yellow fronts {.{wide image|Class 378 London Overground Diagram.PNG|685px|Artist's impression of new rolling stock livery.|800px}}

Future developments[]

{.{Citations missing|date=April 2008|section}}

File:London overground future.png

The network with all proposed changes in place

East London Railway[]

{.{main|East London line}} The East London Railway will become part of the network when the Phase 1 extensions to the East London line - to the new southern termini at Crystal Palace and West Croydon and the northern extension (mostly along the Broad Street viaduct) to the re-opened Dalston Junction - are completed in 2010. When the East London line is added to the network, this will add substantial sections of line that are in tunnels (including the Thames Tunnel) (the oldest tunnel under the Thames), and will create the anomaly that the Overground will be below the London Underground part of Whitechapel tube station.

The line was closed in its entirety at the end of service on 22 December 2007 in preparation for its extension and incorporation into the London Overground. As of October 2007, work is due for completion ahead of schedule on 7 November 2009.[24]

In the original Phase 1 plans, the East London Railway would terminate just south of the North London Line, at Dalston Junction. The Mayor, Ken Livingstone, has since stated that Phase 1 of the East London Railway project would be extended to Highbury & Islington, in order to make a connection with the North London Railway, the Victoria Line and First Capital Connect services. However, this is not planned to open until 2011.[1]

Watford line[]

It is projected that by 2026 the Bakerloo line will be re-extended to Watford Junction.[25] If this happens, most or all of the line from Queen's Park to Watford Junction would be used exclusively by London Underground.

London Overground services would most likely be diverted at Primrose Hill Junction away from Euston, via the currently freight-only route through Primrose Hill station, to Camden Road, providing a new service running between Queen's Park and Stratford.{.{Fact|date=April 2008}} This would lead to Kilburn High Road and South Hampstead no longer having direct services to central London, as no London Overground trains would go to Euston.

However, on the contrary, in a map produced by TfL in September 2006, the Euston line is included in the 2010 Overground system[26].

South London Line[]

The Phase 2 plans of the East London line extension incorporate an extension from Surrey Quays to the South London Line, and along this line to Clapham Junction[26]. This would then create an orbital network around central London, fulfilling the Orbirail concept.

This extension is currently unfunded and is at the proposal stage; however, as it would also involve the withdrawal of the current South London line services (Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill), there is the suggestion that this extension could be funded as preliminary works for the Thameslink Programme[27], due to capacity constraints at London Bridge once the Thameslink upgrade has taken place.

The proposed south London route would follow the line currently served by National Rail from Queens Road Peckham as far as Wandsworth Road, but then branch off at Heathbrook Park, passing through Battersea towards Clapham Junction. This proposal has attracted criticism, as the route will cross over Loughborough Junction and Brixton stations [26], missing opportunities to create new interchange stations with Thameslink services and the London Underground Victoria line respectively[28][29]. Under current proposals, no stations are planned at these locations as the line is on high railway arches, making the cost of any station construction prohibitive[30].

In the March edition of the Londoner newspaper, TfL announced their intention to take over some of Southern's routes namely the South London line and make these routes part of London Overground when Southern's franchise runs out in 2009. [31]

Lea Valley Lines[]

On 31 May 2015, the Liverpool Street to Chingford, Cheshunt and Enfield Town services were transferred from Abellio Greater Anglia to TfL to become part of the Overground network.

See also[]




External links[]

{.{s-start}} {.{s-bef|before=London Underground
East London line operator
before 2010
{.{s-ttl|rows=2|title=Operator of London Overground |years=2007 - present}} {.{s-inc|rows=2}} |- {.{s-bef|before=Silverlink
North London Railways franchise
before 2007

{.{Current UK TOCs}}

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 {.{cite press release | title = Introducing London Overground - a new era for London Rail | publisher = Transport for London | date = 2006-09-05 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-23}}
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 {.{cite news | title = London Overground plans unveiled | work = BBC News | publisher = | date = 2006-09-05 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-19}}
  3. London Overground is not an ordinary franchise - all elements of train operation are under the control of Transport for London, with services contracted out to MTR/Laing
  4. {.{cite web | title = Response to Network Rail's Draft Cross London Route Utilisation Strategy | publisher = Transport for London | date = February 2006 | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-01-10}}
  5. 5.0 5.1 {.{cite web | title = London's Forgotten Railway: The Transport Committee's Review of the North London Railway | publisher =Greater London Authority | date =March 2006 | url = | accessdate = 2007-03-17 | format = PDF}}
  6. {.{cite press release | title = Transport for London confirms next bid stage for London Overground services | publisher = Transport for London | date = 2006-12-15 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-23}}
  7. {.{cite press release | title = Milestone reached in transformation of London's overland rail network as operator is announced | publisher = Greater London Authority | date = 2007-06-19 | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-19}}
  8. {.{cite web | title = MTR Laing beats Go-Ahead unit Govia to win North London rail franchise | publisher = Hemscott | url = | accessdate = 2007-06-19}}
  9. {.{cite web |url = |title = London's new train set |accessdate =2007-11-11 |author = Transport for London |date= 11 November 2007 |format=PDF leaflet }}
  10. {.{cite web |url = |title = Creating London Overground |accessdate =2007-11-11 |author = Transport for London |date= 11 November 2007 |format=PDF leaflet }}
  11. 11.0 11.1 {.{citeweb |work=The Londoner |date=November 2007 |title=All Change |date=November 2007 |url= |accessdate=2007-11-04}}
  12. {.{cite web |url = |title = London Overground Signs Standard |accessdate =2008-02-17 |author = Transport for London |date= December 2007 |format=PDF guide }}
  13. The fastest route between Clapham Junction and Stratford is still via London Waterloo, using existing South West Trains services and the Jubilee line. The operation of direct services on this route will mainly benefit passengers joining or alighting at intermediate stations and those who are unwilling to travel via Zone 1
  14. Latest Tube Map
  15. 15.0 15.1 Transport for London - Your guide to fares and tickets. 2 January 2008.
  16. {.{cite web |url= |title=Design standards: London Overground |accessdate=2008-04-24 |author=TfL }}
  17. ORR statistics
  18. {.{cite press release | title = £36m contract to bring extra rail carriages for London Overground | publisher = Transport for London | date = 2007-07-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-23}}
  19. {.{citeweb|url= Plans|publisher=The Barking - Gospel Oak Line User Group}}
  20. {.{cite journal |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 2007|month= September|title= The Underground Roundel moves Overground|journal= Today's Railways (UK)|volume= |issue= 70|pages= 24-30 |id= |url= |accessdate= 2007-09-17 |quote= }}
  21. {.{citeweb|url= 172 Turbostar|publisher=The Railway Centre}}
  22. {.{cite press release | title = Transport for London signs new train leasing contract | publisher = Transport for London | date = 2007-07-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-23}}
  23. {.{cite web | title = London Overground & Orbirail | publisher = | date = 2006-12-07 | url = | accessdate = 2007-01-10}}
  24. {.{cite web | title = Operational and Financial Report: First Quarter, 2007/08 | publisher = Transport for London | date = 2007-10-24 | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-10-26}}
  25. {.{cite web | title = Scenario Testing for the Further Alterations to the London Plan | publisher = Greater London Authority | date = March 2006 | url = | format = PDF| accessdate = 2007-06-19}}
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 {.{cite web |url= |title=The Tube in 2010 |author=Transport for London |date=2006 |accessdate=2007-11-03 }} (map illustrating future development phases as proposed by TfL in 2006, subject to change)
  27. {.{cite web |url= |title=Transport for London Board Meeting |date=2007-12-06 |accessdate=2007-12-18 }}
  28. {.{cite web |url= |title=Junction joy South |author= |work=South London Press |date=2004-24-04 |accessdate=2007-11-03 }}
  29. {.{cite web |url= |title=Parliamentary Debate: London Orbital Rail Network |author=Martin Linton MP |work=Hansard |date=2006-07-19 |accessdate=2007-11-03 }}
  30. {.{cite web |url= |title=East London Line Extensions - Loughborough Junction |author= |work=AlwaysTouchOut |date=2006-11-09 |accessdate=2007-11-03 }}
  31. {.{Cite news |url= |date=March 2008 |publisher=Transport for London |work=The Londoner |title=Next stop south London}}