Clapham may seem a world away from Whitechapel but it is now a matter of half an hour as the London Overground network is extended.
From December 9, the East London Line has been extended to Clapham Junction from Surrey Quays via: Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road
Four trains an hour in each direction now make the 40 minute journey from Clapham to Highbury and Islington through Peckham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
The new branch completes the London Overground network, making it the first orbital train line to be built in London since the Circle Line in 1884.
The suburban line now runs through 20 of London’s 33 boroughs, including Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Peckham.
London Overgroud was formed in 2007 when Transport for London took over a series of poorly run private suburban railways.
In 2010, it opened the East London Line from Dalston to Croydon. This was extended to Highbury and Islington in February 2011.
The new service to Clapham comes just as the South London Line, linking Victoria and London Bridge is being closed.
Interviewed on a trial-run of the new line, Chief Operating Officer for Rail at TfL, Howard Smith was keen to emphasise that the South London line’s closure was due to engineering works at London Bridge.
But he did say that the new service will in any case have more capacity than the discontinued service.
He attributed the popularity of the East London Line over the last two years to its reliability.
He dismissed suggestions that the line will cause congestion at Canada Water from South West Londoners commuting to Canary Wharf.
He said: “Canada Water and other stations on the line will be busy, do we see that as a terrible problem? No.”
Mike Stubbs, director of operations at Crossrail and Overground was keen to emphasise that the line will help young people in East London find jobs.
Almost a fifth of the 170,000 people living within 15 minutes of the new stations live within the top 10 per cent of the most deprived areas in London.
The extension cost £75m to build, £40m of which came from the Department for Transport.
TfL estimates that 12.3 million passengers will use the service each year.