The tube’s newest line is five years old today. Alright, maybe it’s not that new, but it’s been five years since the London Overground became part of the London Underground. And what a journey (sorry) it’s been. The old Silverlink North London Line has been converted into a multi-faceted tube line with lots more links, and since the new, air conditioned, purring trains were introduced and the East London Line completed, its popularity has grown and grown. Sceptics still claim that it’s not part of the tube, despite the fact that 55% of underground stations are above ground. But the Overground is actually close to taking over the city, with stops in 20 of London’s 33 boroughs and a final link to the ‘Orbital’ circle of orange that will surround the city when the South London branch opens within the next month, connecting Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction. Thank you London Overground for linking us up to parts of the city we’d never even heard of, for your many confusing branches, but most of all, for your impressively orange trains where we can walk between the carriages. Happy Birthday! Victoria Gray
A little history of the London Overground
1846 – The first section of the ‘Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway’ opens between Stratford and North Woolwich. These tracks are now part of the Jubilee line and the DLR. Extension continues for the next 25 years.
1869 – The rebranded North London Line is completed, linking Richmond and Stratford, with branches via Hampstead and to East London and the City.
2007 – TfL takes control of the North London line, promising improvements and extensions.
2008 – ‘Deep cleaning’ of the stations, platform extensions and multiple engineering works take place, improving the line.
2009 – New Capitalstar trains introduced.
2010 – The East London Line is reopened as part of London Overground.
2011 – 95% of trains run on time, popularity of the line at an all-time high.
2012 – The final branch of the Orbital is completed. The Overground now is a railway version of the M25.