Transport for London confirmed today that it has formally appointed Arriva Rail London Limited as the new London Overground operator.
Plans to appoint Arriva were first announced last month but were subject to a mandatory standstill period which has now concluded.
First launched in 2007 when TfL took over the failing Silverlink service, London Overground carries more than 170 million customers a year and is now 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 the Government to devolve further rail routes to the capital as ministers seek to improve commuters’ journeys.
Arriva replaces 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, £1.5bn deal 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” throughout the contract period.
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 look forward to working with Arriva to bring about further improvements to the London Overground network including extending operating hours, improving frequencies and introducing new trains.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the existing operator LOROL for their work that has helped make London Overground the huge success story it is today.”
Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Arriva’s UK trains division, said: “We have been proud to play our part in the London Overground success story so far and look forward to working closely with Transport for London to improve services further, introduce more new trains and deliver a further step-change in customer service quality.
“London Overground is one of the capital’s success stories and from November our role is to ensure this success continues and customer satisfaction levels remain high – helped by 1,400 employees who understand the network inside out.”