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TfL’s ‘perfect example’ celebrates fifth birthday

London Overground is five years old today, and is being widely hailed as a huge success.

Transport for London took over management of the railway in 2007. Chief operating officer for London Rail, Howard Smith, who sits on RTM’s editorial board, calls it a “perfect example” of how well-planned and well-run train services will attract huge numbers of passengers.

TfL is now just a month away from completing the final extension of the London Overground infrastructure, linking Clapham Junction to Surrey Quays to create a true ‘orbital network’ around central London. There will be a 4 tph service over the new section of the line, and an increased 16tph service on the East London Line ‘core’ thanks to the extension, and Smith has previous told RTM about TfL’s long-term aspirations to lengthen the North, West and East London Lines to a five-car railway. (More here and here).

Each year, 100 million journeys are now made on London Overground and it is consistently in the top five of National Rail’s reliability tables. London Overground has also scored highly in passenger satisfaction surveys by Passengers Focus.

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.”

Smith highlighted the “meteoric growth” in the network and passenger numbers and added: “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, managing director of London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL), the joint venture between Deutsche Bahn and Hong Kong’s MTR 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.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]

Image c. TfL 


Nonsuchmike   30/05/2014 at 20:34

Oh, how I totally agree, Mr Smith. Thank you Howard for going on record with this statement which should be read out to every train, plane and public transport operator, Manager and employee throughout the UK on a daily basis. Would that "putting the customer at the centre of all that we do" were to include more track, more quickly laid down, more trains, more frequently, to suit public demand more often. We cannot for ever blame Beeching; we must re-link some lines, redouble others, put in fly-overs and unders; training for more drivers should include this maxim, too. Can it be done in our lifetime? One idea I am coming around to is to start HS2 from the north of England and work south, and not the other way round. Also buy new passenger rolling-stock for the north, too.

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