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Milestone reached in transformation of London's overland rail network as operator is announced

19 June 2007

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today announced that services on a key part of London's overland rail network, to be radically transformed and extended by 2010, will be operated by MTR Laing.

From November 11 this year, ‘London Overground’ services will operate on the North London Railway, which is currently operated by private firm Silverlink Metro.

The new system, brought closer to public control through a tightly managed contract with Transport for London, will bring far-reaching improvements with a total of £1.4 billion of investment, more staff, new trains, a vastly upgraded service, and refurbished and new stations. The Mayor will set fares, and revenue will be retained by Transport for London for reinvestment in the transport network.

London Overground will serve 20 of the capital's 33 boroughs, its high-frequency metro style services also operating on the East London Railway when it opens in 2010, following Transport for London's £1bn extension of the East London Line.

London Overground services will create 400 more jobs over the next three years, and all those currently employed on the East London Line will be offered new roles within London Underground.

  • London Overground will deliver a wide range of benefits to passengers including:
  • Safer stations, with staff at all stations during hours of operation, and improved CCTV
  • Oyster readers at all stations, with better revenue protection to reduce fare evasion
  • A fleet of new trains between Gospel Oak and Barking from 2009, in addition to the 44 new London Overground electric trains already ordered by Transport for London
  • The refurbishment of all stations
  • A commitment by the operator that, by 2012, 94 per cent of trains will arrive on time
  • Increased levels of passenger satisfaction
  • Improved track and signalling, meaning less disruption and more reliable journeys

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said:
“This contract paves the way for the radical revitalisation of London’s rail services, which have suffered from years of neglect and under-investment. With London Overground we are investing over £1.4 billion to transform this part of London's railway network so that it will provide passengers with the levels of staffing, safety and security and customer service that they deserve.

“By joining together the North and East London Railways ahead of the 2012 Games, we will create a new rail artery around the city serving 20 London Boroughs, including some of the poorest. This will not only create new opportunities and encourage inclusion across our diverse economic and cultural centres, but it will also be a vital means of increasing capacity on public transport as London’s populations grows over the next twenty years.”

Ian Brown, Managing Director of TfL, London Rail said: “The London Overground contract will provide a safe and reliable railway for Londoners, improving passengers’ access to economic and leisure centres around the city, and regenerating areas along the route.”

As part of the restructuring of these rail services, 11 Silverlink stations are to be transferred to direct London Underground control when the new London Overground contract comes into force. The range of improvements to these stations will match those on the London Overground network.

The final signing of the contract with MTR Laing will take place on 2 July.

Notes to Editors

  1. London Overground is a new rail service, which will run through 20 of London’s 33 boroughs. It is the latest addition to the Transport for London modes and will have it’s own orange and blue roundel.
  2. The London Overground network comprises the North London Railway and the East London Railway once open in June 2010. The North London Railway includes:  the North London Line (Richmond to Stratford); the London Euston to Watford Junction local line; the West London Line (Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction via Kensington Olympia) and the Gospel Oak to Barking line
  3. The 44 new trains bought by Transport for London at a cost of £223m include: 24 dual-voltage three-car trains for the North London Railway from 2009; 20 four-car trains for the East London Railway when it opens in 2010
  4. The 11 stations to come under London Underground control are: Queen’s Park to Harrow & Wealdstone on the Bakerloo line, excluding Willesden Junction; Kew Gardens and Gunnersbury on the District line and Silverlink platforms at Blackhorse Road, Highbury & Islington and West Brompton stations.
  5. London Overground services will be featured on the world famous tube map from November.