OBITUARY: Richard Pout, ‘father’ of the London Overground, dies at 65
PUBLISHED: 15:31 21 July 2014
Barking-Gospel Oak Rail User grp
The “father” of the London Overground who campaigned for 20 years for better rail services across east London has died.
Richard Pout died earlier this month of a heart attack while waiting for a bypass operation.
The veteran transport activist fought for improvements to the run-down East London Line between Whitechapel and New Cross when it was part of the Underground, and for more trains on the North London Line through Stratford and Hackney.
His single-minded vision finally won over the Mayor of London for the new Overground orbital network launched in 2007 which eventually incorporated both lines, with the East London Line being rebuilt and extended in 2010 to Shoreditch, Dalston and Croydon.
“He was the ‘father’ of the London Overground,” said Glenn Wallis, secretary of the Barking-Gospel Oak rail user group which was part of Richard’s campaign.
“His lasting memorial will be the Overground. He came up with the idea for an orbital network in the mid-1990s and the need for all London rail services to be under one transport authority.”
Richard won over Ken Livingstone who went on to successfully lobby the government to transfer many rail services to the Mayor’s Office.
“Richard was a larger-than-life character, always coming up with ideas,” Glenn added.
“He was forthright, passionate and emphatic about the things he believed in and sometimes ruffled a few feathers.
“The world of transport campaigning has lost one of its most articulate voices.”
Richard was also involved in environmental campaigns including opposing the planned East London River Crossing at Beckton.
Transport historian Christian Wolmar has suggested TfL name one of its Overground trains ‘Richard H Pout’ in his honour.