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Train companies and the tube map

November 10th, 2007 (11:11 pm)
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The rail franchise shuffle is underway as I type. Web pages are disappearing and familiar addresses rerouting to new sites. The last trains are making their journeys. Farewell to Silverlink, Virgin Cross Country, Central Trains and Midland Mainline; hello to London Midland, Cross Country Trains, East Midlands Trains and (most pertinent to this post) London Overground.

London Overground isn't a train operating company on the pattern established in the UK since privatisation, but the name under which Transport for London will operate (through a contractor) the former Silverlink Metro routes in London from tomorrow, and the extended East London Line, which will no longer be a detached part of London Underground but run onto the North London Line at Dalston and over routes currently served by Southern south of New Cross Gate. As part of this arrangement London Overground routes will be added to the 'Tube Map' tomorrow. The pedant in me wants to remind people that not all London Underground services are, in fact, tube railways, but I think most people reading this will know that, and 'Tube Map' is how Transport for London currently brand the diagram.

The North London Line has appeared on the diagram in most versions since the late 1970s, but it is now being joined by the West London Line (Willesden Junction-Clapham Junction), the Watford Junction-Euston line, and the Gospel Oak-Barking line, all of which will be identified by the new double orange stripe. The addition of so many services to the map has become the subject of controversy, and was picked up on the first instalment of Radio 4's iPM programme this afternoon. The new map was leaked earlier in the week and can be downloaded here.

I see the point some of the critics are making, but I still find it easy to follow, apart from a few minor annoyances - I'm not sure whether the junction of the West London and North London lines at Willesden Junction is intended to show through running from both eastwards towards Stratford (as occasionally happens) or not. It's good to see Watford Junction and the other stations north of Harrow and Wealdstone back on the plan, however. Tube enthusiast Alex Gollner has proposed an alternative here which I like a bit more than the Transport for London version; though beware, it includes some aspirations unlikely to be fulfilled in the near future alongside definite plans for 2012. What do people think, particular regular London travellers?

edited to replace 'New Cross' with 'New Cross Gate'.

Comments

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC)
Outsider

I'm slightly ashamed to say I almost entirely missed this, until I got an email from Transport for London to tell me I can use my Oyster card on the 'new' lines (shows how much attention I've been paying to the news lately).

Some of the converted lines would have been useful to me when I was commuting to school in Camden every day (well, maybe; they were useful backups when the tube was on strike), but I haven't been to school since 2001, and indeed the school hasn't been in Camden for most of that period either (it's now in walking distance of my house...).

One of my local tube stations is on the part of the Bakerloo line that has until now been shared with Silverlink. I hope we might see slightly better service there, although I rarely need to use it (the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines are equally accessible for me, run to some of the same central London stations faster and usually more efficient).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 09:08 am (UTC)
Sylvester

I am not sure what TfL plan for the Watford-Euston service in the short and medium term. In the long term they hoped to get rid of it altogether, with some Harrow and Wealdstone-Watford journeys being covered by a re-extended Bakerloo, others turning onto the West London Line at Willesden, and proceeding to Clapham Junction, and finally a link being reinstated after South Hampstead which would enable Primrose Hill to reopen (which closed at the same time as Broad Street, I think, in 1986 or so) with trains then running onto the North London Line at Camden Road, and then east to Stratford. This last addition assumed that funds to electrify Gospel Oak-Barking would be available, and there doesn't seem any prospect of this for now.

I think that there will be service frequency improvements on the Watford-Euston stopping service, and certainly all stations will be staffed throughout hours of service, with later trains.

(A check of Wikipedia shows that Primrose Hill survived the closure of Broad Street, and lasted until 1992, with trains running into Liverpool Street.)

Edited at 2007-11-11 10:51 am (UTC)

Posted by: Gramarye (gramarye1971)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Zone 1

Ah, farewell to Silverlink indeed. (I do not have fond memories of long waits for trains to Kew Gardens from West Hampstead.) Do you know if TfL is keeping the same rolling stock?

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 09:18 am (UTC)

TfL is keeping the same rolling stock as a temporary measure; the trains are to be deep cleaned and probably repainted into a neutral colour as they don't want them associated with the London Overground brand.

New trains will start appearing in 2009 - they'll be longer (Network Rail are extending platforms at the North London Line stations to accommodate four car trains) and be the first in London to have no doors between carriages, so it will be possible to walk from one end of the interior to the other. They'll also be painted in a white, orange and yellow livery with the Overground roundel on display. The trains (also four car versions, according to Wikipedia) will also appear on the East London Line when it reopens in December that year. Gospel Oak-Barking is getting new diesel trains too.

By 2011 those long waits will be gone, apparently, as 'tube style' frequency will have been achieved, it's hoped.

The only line which isn't getting new trains is the Watford-Euston stopping service, which will probably inherit some old London Underground rolling stock as their new trains come online in the next few years.

Edited at 2007-11-11 10:36 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
SarahJaneSmith

If you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic for Silverlink, visit the Silverlink Metropolis photostream.