London Orbital Line close to completion on Overground’s 5th anniversary

The fifth anniversary of the London Overground is being marked today by transport bosses less than a month before its final extension completes an orbital rail service around London.

The Overground was created when TfL took over running the North London Line in 2007.

It added the East London Line to the new network when it was reopened in 2010 using the Brunel’s Thames Tunnel at Wapping, the world’s oldest tunnel under a river, and was extended from Shoreditch to Dalston and from New Cross Gate to West Croydon and Crystal Palace.

TfL has introduced new fleet of 57 air-conditioned trains on the Overground network since then and has put in staff at all previously-unmaned stations.

New stops have also been added, such as Shoreditch High Street and Hoxton, while old tracks have been replaced that had been in use since Victorian times.

London Overground’s Steve Murphy said: “Our challenge over the last five years has been to create a world-class transport system from one which had suffered significant neglect.

“We have created a network that is now punctual at an all time high, which is exceptional for a metro service with more than 370,000 passenger journeys a day.”

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The final link in the network will be completed early next month, from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, the last section in London’s ambitious ‘outer circle’ project.

But the Orbital line is not a new idea—it first emerged in 1970 when passenger lobby groups campaigned for improvements to the run-down North London Line from Stratford and Hackney to Willesden Junction and Richmond.

Now, four decades on, those early campaigners look as if they have achieved their goal.