RAIL: Liverpool Street commuter services switch to TfL’s London Overground
PUBLISHED: 00:01 31 May 2015 | UPDATED: 21:59 01 June 2015
Fares for tens-of-thousands of east London commuters are being slashed today with commuter trains out of Liverpool Street being switched to the London Overground network.
Services to Enfield Town, Cheshunt, Chingford, Gidea Park and Shenfield as well as the Romford-to-Upminster branch are all being shunted from Abellio Greater Anglia to Transport for London’s control.
Some fares are down by as much as 40 per cent—80pc of pay-as-you-go tickets are now cheaper, with the rest unchanged.
The move is part of London Mayor Boris Johnson’s radical shake-up—started by his predecessor Ken Livingstone in 2007—to bring all London commuter services under the City Hall umbrella.
The Enfield and Cheshunt services through Bethnal Green, Cambridge Health, London Fields, Hackney Downs, Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill join the Overground network.
So, too, does the Chingford run through Bethnal Green, Hackney Downs and Clapton.
The Shenfield line through Stratford and Ilford switches to a temporary ‘TfL Rail’ operation ready to be incorporated with the new Crossrail ‘super tube’ from Heathrow through the City and Whitechapel in 2018.
London TravelWatch has welcomed the transfer to TfL. The passenger watchdog and its predecessors have campaigned for City Hall to have a greater role in London’s rail services.
“We expect passengers to see an immediate improvement in some key areas as well as lower fares,” TravelWatch chair Stephen Locke said. “This transfer represents an important step towards what we hope will be a major change in the way train services are run, to give passengers a better deal.”
Lower fares are possible because TfL is a statutory public authority that doesn’t make a profit. All income is reinvested in public transport.
London Overground, which began operating in 2007 using run-down commuter lines which had suffered lack of investment over many years, has become one of the most punctual and heavily-used rail systems in Britain, enhanced with its inclusion on the London Underground map.
Services have been radically improved with continuing investment and expansion, such as the East London Line reopened in 2010 and extended north from Whitechapel to Dalston—and later to Highbury—and south from New Cross Gate to Croydon and more recently to Clapham Junction.