Transport for London says Arriva is to be awarded a £1.5bn contract to operate London Overground services from November.
First launched in 2007 when TfL took over the failing Silverlink service, London Overground now carries more than 170 million customers a year and is one of the UK’s most punctual and reliable rail services with high levels of customer satisfaction.
Its success has been credited with helping TfL and City Hall persuade ministers to devolve further rail routes to the capital as ministers seek to improve commuters’ journeys.
Arriva will replace current operator LOROL which it co-owns with MTR. Despite their successful partnership, the two firms announced last year that they would make rival bids for the new contract.
The new seven and a half year agreement will require Arriva to extend operating hours and introduce Boxing Day services on some routes. It will also need to deliver “sustained improvements in performance levels.”
TfL says as part of the new contract’s performance requirements the firm will face financial penalties should services be delayed, including where delays are caused by Network Rail, train and freight operators.
The agency says this is intended to “encourage closer working” with Network Rail to ensure customers receive high quality services.
Gareth Powell, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer, London Rail, said: “We have worked hard to deliver major improvements for our customers, taking a neglected part of the transport network and transforming it to support new homes, jobs and economic growth across the Capital.
“Arriva will build on this by extending operating hours, improving frequencies and introducing new trains. I would also like to thank the existing operator LOROL for their work that has helped make London Overground the huge success story it is today.”
Arriva has pledged to “work closely” with TfL to ensure customers continue to receive a high level of service.
Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva’s UK trains division, said: “It is exciting to be given the opportunity to build on the major improvements we have made in recent years and we are delighted to be playing a key role in the next phase of London’s growth and development.
“London Overground is one of the capital’s big transport success stories with passenger numbers rising rapidly, the transformation of stations, and the introduction of extended trains to help with peak overcrowding.
“They are just some examples of the step-change in quality and how the network contributes to London’s economy. From November, our role is to ensure this success story continues and customer satisfaction levels remain high – helped by 1,300 employees who understand the network inside out.
“We will be working closely with Transport for London to introduce further improvements which will bring world-class performance and customer service levels across the network and to new routes.”