Mayor of London Ken Livingstone today unveiled a new brand – ‘London Overground’.
The brand will enter use from November 2007 when responsibility for the North London Railway moved from the Department for Transport to Transport for London.
Operating under a new TfL London Rail Concession, ‘London Overground’ services will also run on the East London Railway when it opens in 2010, following TfL’s £1bn extension of the existing East London Line.
Contracts to operate the services will be awarded by TfL and the body has said a single contractor will be appointed “to meet TfL’s requirements for safety, security, staffing, ticketing and train frequency”.
Launching the new brand Mayor Livingstone said “national rail services in London have been neglected and in many cases under-utilised” for decades.
The Mayor claimed the transfer of powers would “start the much needed revitalisation of London rail services, bringing the standards of service up to the levels of the Tube and the buses” adding that joining the two services would “create a new rail artery around the city, serving 20 London boroughs”.
Under the new arrangements there will be Oyster ticketing at all stations and more ticket gates to improve security and reduce fare evasion. TfL has also promised a fleet of new trains from 2009.
Echoing the Mayor’s comments Ian Brown, Managing Director, TfL London Rail described TfL’s vision for the ‘London Overground’ as “a safe and secure railway with frequent, Metro-style train services.
Passengers will benefit from a better quality of service with new, reliable trains, staffed stations and Oyster ticketing to ensure consistent fares”.
The four companies who have been shortlisted to tender to operate train services are Govia, MTR Laing, National Express Group and Nedrail. The successful bidder is expected to be announced next summer.