Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon yesterday announced a £75m funding deal which secures phase two of the East London Line which will complete the London Overground network and create an orbital railway around the capital.
The London Overground was formed when Transport for London (TfL) took control of overground rail services in the north on London in autumn 2007. Since its creation, TfL has invested heavily in station refurbishment and has announced millions of pounds of new trains.
The scheme will link Surrey Quays on the East London line extension to Clapham Junction, providing direct links to the City and Docklands and will be completed before the 2012 Games.
Speaking yesterday Mayor Johnson said: “This is tremendous news. We can finally get cracking on a vital section of track that will orbitise our Overground rail services. I promised Londoners that where funds were made available we would build the improvements they need. And it will be a real achievement when our Overground services are fully oysterised. I am delighted that a long hard slog of negotiations between ourselves and the Department of Transport has borne fruit that will result in a superb new service for thousands of Londoners.”
Mr Hoon said the scheme “will deliver a key rail link south of the river and improve local transport for Londoners by providing more choice and better access to other parts of the capital.”
Yesterday’s deal has been welcomed by passenger and business groups.
Sharon Grant, Chair of passenger watchdog London TravelWatch said: “We are delighted that, finally, after long negotiations, this much-needed project will go ahead. This is a vital link in a part of London that desperately needs improved public transport.”
However Grant said her body “hope that an appropriate funding package can be agreed to ensure that Surrey Canal Road station can be built in time for opening of this extension.”
Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, said the deal “promises residents and businesses in South East London a ‘ticket to ride’.”
“The latest phase of the East London line will complete the rail version of London’s South Circular. It will allow passengers to skirt around the busy mainline terminus stations, connecting parts of the capital less well served by public transport. London needs to accelerate investment in its transport infrastructure, to prepare for economic recovery. This is a good start.”