London Overground braces itself for 100 million new journeys as demand for the service rockets

Hoxton Station - Ben Sutherland (Flickr)

The East London Line extension has “grown faster than anticipated” with nearly three and a half times more journeys made per week in 2011 than in 2007, according to a TfL report on the train operator.

Nearly two million journeys were made on the line per week in September last year compared with 0.6 million in 2007.

But the increase has led to higher levels of crowding, and the local government body predicts there will be 100 million journeys made on the whole Overground network in 2011/12 as user demand proliferates this year due to predicted popular events including the Olympic Games and the Queen’s Jubilee.

The Overground has rapidly grown as a commuting route with over 60 per cent of journeys made to and from work and eight per cent made for leisure reasons. The busiest station is Canada Water with over 30,000 passengers per day but Whitechapel in Tower Hamlets came second with 15,000 users per day.

The extension opened in May 2010, with 160 million users since then, and this year will see new services from Dalston Junction to Clapham Junction.

Since the opening, both the Geffrye Museum at Hoxton and the Brunel museum at Rotherhithe have seen higher number of visitors.

TfL report that customer satisfaction with the extended line averages 85 out of 100 meaning they are more “popular with passengers” than before their closure when the average was 77.

According to the body, the network has changed from being a “neglected railway into the best performing train operator in Great Britain”.

Schoolchildren have also benefited from the extension as the train operator has a higher proportion of educational travel than most rail operators.

According to TfL’s report, the most popular mode of transport used previously by passengers was the bus, suggesting that the route has been crucial in providing certain deprived areas such as Hackney with quicker transport options and “links them to key employment centres in the City, Docklands and West End as well as leisure and social facilities”.

Video filmed and edited by Praveen Sundaram and Mengdi Li.

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